Tag Archives: feed my sheep

The Wrong Boat

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

In one of the classes I teach, I have people introduce themselves and tell me a hobby they have outside of work. It provides opportunities for connection early in the class as well as information I can tie back to throughout the day. Yesterday, while training this class, a guy answered that he liked to play music. I followed up with, “What kind?” He responded with, “Worship. I’ve felt called to lead worship since I was young, but I’ve been too scared to step out and do it.” He admitted in front of our group what so many of us Christians are afraid to say.

God’s call on our life can be scary. I think it’s supposed to be. If it were anything less than scary, we’d do it without hesitation. The problem with that is we would think it was done in our own ability. We need to understand that we are simply vessels to be used by Him. It is He who performs the work, we simply provide the channel. Our inability to do whatever He called us to is His greatest opportunity to do something amazing.

God sees in us what we cannot see. Peter was just another uneducated fisherman when Jesus called Him. He didn’t posses the ability to start the Church. He didn’t have the business acumen to take twelve men, start a worldwide movement and grow it. He didn’t have the boldness to stand in front of thousands to preach. He knew what fear was and it got the better of him from time to time. He denied Jesus and his calling in the same night.

The fear that he failed in his calling caused him to go back to fishing when he should have been preaching after the resurrection. He went back to what he knew instead of stepping out in faith to be the rock he was called to be. Jesus didn’t leave him in that boat though. He went to the waters edge in John 21, but they didn’t recognize Him. He called out to them, “Have you caught any fish?” They replied, “No.” Jesus called out, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you’ll catch some.” As soon as they did, the net teemed with fish. Peter recognized the man as Jesus and swam to shore.

Jesus reaffirmed to Peter that day what his role was. He didn’t worry about his failures or inabilities. He worried about his love for Him. Jesus knew that if he truly loved Him, he would obey his calling. He didn’t leave Peter in the wrong boat catching the wrong kind of fish. He reiterated that he was to be a fisher of men from now on. I think that call goes out to you in whatever boat you’re sitting in today. Maybe you’re reading this in the place where you can accomplish things in your own strength. It’s the boat of what is familiar and easy to you. But God has more for you.

I encourage you today to recognize the fear that is paralyzing you and keeping you from your calling. If God called you to do something, it’s His strength and ability that will accomplish it, not yours. Release the fear that sent you back into the boat of the familiar and do what God has called you to do. Faith is about trusting God to do what He said He would do. It’s not about you doing things and giving Him credit. Don’t let fear hold you back another minute. Get out of the wrong boat, and step into the life you were called to lead.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

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Oops! Try again.

My son, who is almost three, is as clumsy as they come. He trips over his own feet, walks into stuff without looking and knows how to make a mess. Whenever he trips and falls, he says, “Oops! Try again.” Whenever he gets outside of the lines tracing letters on his Leap Pad and it makes him start over, he says, “Oops! Try again.” It makes me laugh every time. The other day I dropped something and it made a loud crash. He came running in there, looked at the mess, looked at me, smiled and said, “Oops! Try again.”

We could learn a lot from him. When he messes up, he doesn’t give up. He doesn’t let the mistake hold him back. He simply reminds himself to try again. Jesus spent a lot of his earthly ministry doing the same. When they brought Him the woman who had been caught in adultery, He said, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” One by one they left. When it was just her standing there, Jesus looked up and said, “Go and sin no more.” In essence He told her, “Oops! Try again.” She messed up badly, but He offered her the chance to try again.

I’m sure Peter went through some sleepless night after he denied knowing Jesus. He knew he was going to deny Him because Jesus told him it was going to happen. Not only did he deny knowing Jesus once, but he did it three times. After Jesus rose from the dead, He met Peter on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. He looked at Peter and asked, “Do you love me?” Peter responded, “You know I love you.” Jesus then said, “Then take care of my sheep.” In a way that only Jesus could do, He simply told Peter, “Oops! Try again.”

There is nothing you have done in this life that is so bad that Jesus won’t look at you and say, “Oops! Try again.” He understands that we will fail Him. He knows that we’re going to sin. He doesn’t sit there and hold it over our heads. Instead, He wants us to get back up, dust ourselves off, ask for forgiveness and then try again. The whole life of a Christian isn’t about being perfect. It’s about getting up and trying again after we fail. It’s about knowing the One who forgives and encourages us to try again.

Proverbs 24:16 says, “For the righteous falls seven times and rises again.” Being righteous doesn’t mean you won’t fall. It means you get back up and try again. If you’ve fallen and have thought that God wouldn’t take you back, let me encourage you to get back up and try again. If you haven’t been to church in forever, get back up and try again. If you think that the walls of the church would fall in if you walked in, get up and try. You couldn’t have done anything worse than to deny Jesus to His face after spending years with Him. If Jesus offered Peter the opportunity to try again, He’ll offer it to you.

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