Push out your boat…
“Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat” – Luke 5:3
This is a pretty simple story with some profound lessons. It involves Jesus’ first encounter with some of his future disciples: Simon (Peter), James, and John. In the beginning of the passage we learn that Jesus, by this point, has developed a following. How could he not? He’s healing the sick, opening blind eyes, and restoring lame limbs; we’d probably be following this guy around too. Where we are going to pick up the story is here in verse three. Jesus has asked Simon Peter if he will push out his boat so that Jesus might have a platform from which to speak to the crowd. Simon Peter obliges and Jesus steps in the boat as Peter shoves out from the shore to give Jesus some space to address everyone. We don’t know exactly what Jesus said but, based on his other speeches throughout the New Testament, we can assume some of the major points he may have discussed.
What I want to focus on here, though, in this short verse is Peter’s willingness. Just prior to this verse we see that Peter has been fishing all day and he and the other two fishermen are beginning to clean up their nets. It might be safe to say that Peter was not really jumping at the prospect of having to push his boat back out in to the water. But, regardless, he did it anyway. He was willing to allow Jesus to use his boat to speak to the crowd. That’s what I want to focus on.
Now, I may be running the risk of neglecting context here but just follow me. Simon allowed Jesus to utilize his livelihood as a means to speak to the crowd. How willing are we to allow God to use our livelihood as a platform to share the Gospel? We often times fall victim to the thought that we have to be working in a church or in vocational ministry to truly be used by God. But what about Simon? He was a just a lowly fisherman. He wasn’t working in the synagogue. He wasn’t working at some major ministry organization. He was just doing what, most likely, his father did before him: fishing. But God used that! He didn’t require Simon to go through seminary or special training before he could be used. All Jesus did was ask him to push his boat out. The same goes for us. We have sphere’s of influence that we are a part of every day. Are we allowing God to use those as a platform to speak to the crowd? Are we willing to say “Yes, Lord, I’ll step out of my comfort zone to share truth with my co-worker, neighbor, friend”?
Each day God asks us to push our boat out into the water so that He might speak to the crowds. What about you? Are you willing to push out your boat?