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Going Overboard

February 2nd, 2009

“Peter . . jumped into the water.” John 21:7 NIV

“Life lived always by careful calculation misses the exhilarating adventure of following Jesus.”

My thoughts today are about “going overboard.”

Every once in awhile you need to cast off restraint, and simply “go for it!” Admittedly, that should not be without some measure of wisdom, just not so much caution that you find reasons not to do what you know that you should. Life cannot always be lived by careful calculation. Now understand, I am a very conservative person, usually studied in my decisions. I like to get trusted input and varying perspective. Yet in pursuit of Jesus, His voice has to outweigh all others. See Acts 21:4-15.

Peter’s passion for Jesus sometimes was stronger than what might have been his better judgment at another time. Why else would he have heard these words of Jesus, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men,” and left his nets and followed Jesus? Matthew 4:19-20 NLT.  Some would say that was going overboard, don’t you think. Imagine what he was leaving behind in the boat?

Or when the crowd of followers decided the demands and cost were too great and turned their back on Jesus, yet Peter stayed because, “Lord, to whom else would we go? You have the words of eternal life!” John 6:69 TEV. The departing crowd would have thought Peter to be going overboard.

Or the time Peter saw Jesus walking on the water and proposed, Lord, if it is you, command me come to come to You on the water.” Matthew 14:28-29 NKJV. If it is You! – that is a most important distinction. Jesus said come; Peter came. There are times when following Jesus that you simply need to leave a perfectly fine and safe boat, even when that means going overboard.

There will come moments when you must be willing to put lesser concerns and natural timidity aside to choose abandoned affection and obedience. The safe path is not always the best path. The right choice is not always the obvious choice. The popular opinion is not always God’s counsel.

Peter did not always get it right, and neither will you. See Matthew 17:1-8 NLT/ Matthew 26:33-35 NIV. When that happens, all is not lost. Jesus is not shocked. He knows your heart, and He can do more with your mistake than you could do apart from Him with your best wisdom. You will learn it was not because God misled you; yours and my understanding are imperfect and our hearing not always clear. But if you are willing to get out of the boat when Jesus calls, you will find exhilarating joy in the adventure of following Jesus. The faith-journey is never ordinary.

Now mind you, discipleship is not some call to unreasoned rashness or a senseless disregard of responsibility or resource, yours or others’; do not confuse being impulsive with being obedient. The issue is your willingness to singularly follow Jesus, wherever He leads and whenever He speaks, often without the cushion of a fall back position. Read John 21:1-22. Peter had worked hard all night and caught nothing. Now at Jesus’ command his boat was full. Would he remain safe, secure, and successful in the boat, or go overboard to follow the voice of Jesus?

Will you? You can, when you know, “It is the Lord!” John 21:7 NIV. I want to be always following Jesus, even if that appears to others to be going overboard at times.

My prayer for you today is to know what God is saying, and then do it!

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