Matthew’s account of Jesus walking on the water is among the most well-known of His miracles, but there is another important aspect of this event that ought especially to capture the attention of anybody working on a congressional staff.
What’s your ambition? Move up to a better-paid, higher-challenge position with your current boss? Climb the ladder to work for the most influential and powerful senator or representative? Maybe it’s to make contacts and then join a lobbying firm or advocacy group. The Hill is a wonderful springboard in countless ways, but it can also be a tough, risky place to work.
Something I read on April 30 in a daily devotional app I read every morning has been very much on my mind. The title of the entry for that day in “The Word For You Today” was simple and to the point – “Getting Out Of Your Boat.”
Self-help rah-rah has always struck me as fake, but it quickly became evident this day’s entry in the devotional was anything but such pseudo-wisdom. It was utterly practical and down-to-earth, which made it especially useful advice for somebody laboring on the Hill.
The reason is the devotional posed three questions: What is my boat? What keeps me from getting out of my boat? What will I forfeit by staying in my boat?
Recall that when Jesus invited Peter to come to him, Matthew tells us “So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and, beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’”
“What is my boat? What keeps me from getting out of my boat? What will I forfeit by staying in my boat?”
And of course Jesus saved Peter. So what should a Hill staffer glean from this passage? First, understand that your boat is, according to the devotional, “whatever gives you your greatest sense of security. It’s what you’re tempted to put your trust in when life gets stormy.”
Is your security your self-confidence? The fact your parents are contributors to your boss’ re-election campaigns? Maybe you have a skill or knowledge set that is rare. Whatever it is, what happens when you discover it won’t always save you? (And believe me, there will come a time.)
Second, odds are that what keeps you from getting out of your boat is fear, the fear of what other people will say, of failing to measure up, of making a bad decision on where to seek your next promotion, and so on. We all have an abundance of such fears.
Here’s the key on this second question, according to the devotional: “In order to grow, you must go into new territory and each time you get out of your boat, you become a little more able to do it the next time, and you begin to realize fear doesn’t have the power to destroy you.”
“Odds are that what keeps you from getting out of your boat is fear.”
Finally, understand that by remaining in your boat, what you forfeit is your destiny. You weren’t put on the Hill by accident, just like it’s no accident you were born. “Understand this: If you stay in your boat, you’ll eventually die there,” the devotional said. Wondering about the what-might-have-beens.
Here’s why these three questions aren’t merely self-help gobbledygook: Jesus invited Peter to get out of the boat because He knew it would build Peter’s faith and that was essential for His plan for Peter’s life. Peter nearly sank that time, but then he spent the rest of his life after Jesus’ Resurrection out of his boat.
So can you. I had to hit bottom with booze, conceit, selfish ambition, lust and other snares before I got out of my boat to follow Jesus and seek the life He has for me. He’s since given me my destiny. It hasn’t always been easy but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
He will for you, too, but you have to get out of that boat of yours and walk toward Him. If you’d like to talk about this confidentially and without judgement (trust me, I know all about that plank in my eye!). Just let me know and we’ll make it happen. Now, why are you still in that boat?