A few years ago, while facing some significant challenges in my professional life, I called my brother, trying to get a bit of perspective. His words to me: “Looks like you just got thrown overboard; I guess we’ll find out if you can walk on water.”
I was actually hoping for something a bit more sympathetic.
He had been reading John Ortberg’s book, If You Want to Walk On Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat. My wife recently gave me a copy, and I’ve started working my way through it. Good writer, that Ortberg.
Ortberg notes that, just as in the case of Jesus inviting Peter to join him on the stormy seas, there is a consistent pattern when God wants to use and improve a person. From Abraham, to Moses, to Joshua, to Peter, the story of scripture is amazingly consistent. In each case there was always:
A Changed Life
When I look at the lives of those who have said, “I will be faithful and make a difference in the lives of the least of these,” I see that pattern over and over again. They hear the demand of our Savior that we care for the widows, the orphans, the oppressed, the hungry. They almost always find the call to be overwhelming, a demand that they step out of their comfort zone, and, often, that they put themselves, perhaps their lives, their financial security, their understanding of their place in the world, at risk. But then they hear the words of security, “And lo, I am with you always.” And they choose to be faithful.
It’s then that the really important thing happens: THEY are changed. Those who commit themselves to transforming the lives of others see the biggest change in their own lives. When we trust God to use us, we find that this very use transforms us, attunes us to the voice of God, makes us instruments of His peace.
And draws us into intimacy with Him.
Perhaps that is the real place of risk; our faithfulness ushers us into the presence of a Holy God.
Risk … Isn’t it time you got out of the boat?