Ok. After reading the last post “it’s a dangerous thing to let Jesus use your boat.” Bob Lupton, you may be wondering…what is my boat? I don’t have a boat. YES, you do!!!
Let me share with you a story that happened just this week that demonstrates Jesus using boats right before our eyes! We have been praying for a computer that the kids and community could use. Miss Marti’s Kids don’t always have access to a computer/internet to use for school projects, homework and research. In addition, there isn’t readily available access to computer/internet to look for and apply for jobs.
This week, Michael Fletcher and his family used their “boat” called resources and willingly donated their family’s used Dell Laptop (following an upgrade to a new computer) to Miss Marti’s House!!! I was THRILLED! But, it came with a slight problem. It wouldn’t charge. Thanks be to God! And thanks to the Fletchers for being willing to let Jesus use their boat called Resources!
Well, those of you who know me…know that I am NOT very tech savvy. I know how to use a computer just fine, but don’t ask me HOW or WHAT makes it work! That…I have no clue. Enter…Mario Garza, a new member to our Missional Community. Mario and his brother Fernando took the computer home to see if they could diagnose the problem. Mario contacted me today and let me know the solution was simple. It needed a new power cord. So, one has been ordered and upon arrival, Mario will not only ensure it is up and running, but is also going to scrub it and download fresh anti-virus protection (which will be MUCH needed!!!) and Windows XP, etc. Thanks be to God and the Garzo’s for allowing Jesus to use their boats called Knowledge and Time!
So I ask again…What’s your boat called? ALL of us have something to offer. Are you using yours to bring glory to God? Are you fishing for men? To carry this analogy possibly too far…when we let Jesus use our boats…our nets are HEAVY with fish. When we try to do it on our own…we bring in empty nets. When we aren’t doing a thing…the boat’s just rottin’ at the dock and needs a little work.
If you don’t know what your “boat” is, I pray the Holy Spirit will be your lighthouse and guide you through the fog to safe landing at the feet of Jesus. We often look for the “big mission” or “God’s will” for our lives. Well, what about God’s will for today or this minute…this hour? God has a will for every moment of our life. Are you in God’s will right now as you read this? I dare say yes. You were meant to read this at this very moment. As we pray like Jesus taught us….Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. So, what will you do now? Will you let Jesus use your boat to do His will on Earth?
The below article was taken from Urban Perspectives blog from FCS Urban Ministries in Atlanta, GA. It’s the story of Luke 5. This is my prayer! This is my hope, desire and dream for Richmond, VA…especially for Southern Barton Heights/Northside. Lord, may it be so. But, in the meantime…are you willing to let Jesus use YOUR boat??? What IS your “boat”? Keep reading…
by Bob Lupton, June 2010
No one knows fish like a commercial fisherman. When your livelihood is dependent on your daily catch, you become an expert in the habits and appetites of edible species. You study spawning seasons, migration patterns, the tides, the weather – anything to calculate the optimal time to cast off for a productive expedition. But as all fishermen know, fish are elusive creatures. With all the best intelligence, catching them is still a matter of chance.
Simon was a fisherman. He and his two partners, James and John, owned a small commercial fishing fleet that afforded them a modest living. They had been out all night dragging their heavy nets but pulling in nothing. Discouraging toil but necessary. It was, after all, a game of odds. And years of experience had taught them that at this time in the fishing calendar the odds of a catch diminished with the rising of the sun. Time to call it a day, or a night, rather.
They had pulled their boats up onto the shore and had just begun cleaning the seaweed out of their nets when a noisy gathering of town folk came pushing and shoving down the beach. The crowd was attracted by the provocative speech of a young Galilean. Rumors were this young teacher was a new prophet on the scene – some even said he might be the long awaited messiah. Everyone was pressing in for a look. The young teacher, spying the idle boats, motioned to Simon to push one off shore a few feet to give him a little separation from the jostling crowd. Simon obliged and the teacher continued his speech using Simon’s boat as a floating platform.
When his speech ended and the crowd disbursed, the young teacher expressed his gratitude to Simon for the use of his boat. And then offered a most unusual suggestion. No, it was more than a suggestion, more like an order. “Give it another try, Simon, out there in the deep water.” It was not a particularly welcome request. The teacher may have been alive with morning energy, probably had a good night’s sleep, but Simon was spent. The last thing he wanted to do was load up his soggy net again and row out into the lake. But then, who knows, maybe this Galilean was a sure-enough prophet after all. Maybe he knew something Simon didn’t. Reluctantly Simon consented. Motioning to his helper to give him a hand, they dragged the half-cleaned net back onto the boat and shoved off from shore.
They rowed out to where Gennesaret’s water turned an inky blue-green and dropped the net over the side. No sooner had it disappeared below the surface than a furious tugging began. It was the kind of tension a fisherman recognizes well, the kind of pulling a fisherman’s dreams are made of. “Pull! Pull!” Simon roared. In moments the net was bulging with fish, so many they could barely drag it up over the side. The bottom of the boat was literally alive with a flipping, flopping mass fish. Another cast of the net produced the same results. “Get out here fast!” Simon bellowed to James and John who were still on shore cleaning their nets. In a few frantic minutes both crews were hauling in nets literally bursting with fish, so many fish that the sheer weight threatened to sink their boats. Never in their entire fishing careers had they landed a catch to equal this one. Never.
When the boats were eased back to shore, top-heavy with precious cargo that would bring a record return from the fish merchants, the impact of the episode began to sink in. Simon’s first reaction, once he caught his breath and wiped the sweat from his face, was profound embarrassment. “Master.” That’s about all he could get out. This had to be the messiah, and what disrespect he had shown him! “Just leave,” Simon motioned, staring down at the sand in humiliation. “You don’t want to associate with a sinner like me.”
“Oh, that’s alright, Simon,” the Teacher responded with a smile. “You’ve got some bigger fish than this to catch. Come on, I’ll show you.” And that’s when Simon the commercial fisherman became Peter the fisher of men.
It’s a dangerous thing to let Jesus use your boat, even for a morning. It can end up costing you far more than you bargained for. Just ask Peter. Lend Jesus an idle asset (like a beached boat or unused office space or a bit of your schedule) and it can open you up to a whole new life. Take Jack Morse, successful real estate developer, who lent our ministry a little bit of his unused credit capacity to purchase and rehab a vacant apartment complex for affordable housing. It was a small deal for Jack. At first. And then he uncovered the need for a decent grocery store in the neighborhood. He got drawn in a little deeper. And then arose the opportunity to transform a nearby public housing project from a killing field to a healthy community, a daunting challenge. In the end, Jack walked away from his boat and nets to devote full-time to redemptive work in the city. As I said, it’s a dangerous thing to let Jesus use your boat.
It’s dangerous, yes, but ask Peter or Jack or any of a handful of successful business people you know who have been lured into a Jesus-mission and you will hear a similar response. “I-had-no-idea.” That’s what you’ll hear. You may hear words like “challenging” or “consuming” or “frustrating” or “inspiring”. But there is one word you will not hear. “Regret.” Go ahead. Ask them. Ask Tom Cousins who converted a defunct golf course into a cash cow that transformed the ghetto community of East Lake. Or David Allman who leveraged his assets and influence to take on poverty in Nicaragua. Ask them or any of the others you know who have taken the risk of lending Jesus an idle asset and you’ll get the same story. Life has never been the same.