Straining at the Oars

When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. Mark 6:47-48

Here are the disciples smack dab in the middle of Christ’s will, following His specific Word and – make no mistake – they are professionals out there in the middle of the sea. They know how to handle a boat: several of them have spent lifetimes on the water, pulling nets under the stars in the early morning, moving around to find the “hot spots” where the schools of fish are feeding. They’d experienced high winds and knew how to lower the sail and man the oars to sweat and grunt and power through to the destination. When they got into the boat that evening at His instruction they thought, Yeah, no problem, Lord.

Have you ever encountered “contrary winds” as you gave your absolute best to follow God’s leading? Jesus said, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5). Do we really believe we can do nothing apart from His life? Everyone has natural strengths and specific knowledge. Are we aware that in those things which we do “second-nature,” without thought, in the realm of our physical and mental skill and expertise, the life of Christ needs to be invited for it to be of any value in the Kingdom of God? It is possible to hammer a nail, make toast, operate a computer, drive along Stone Chimney Road and even conduct a church service apart from Him. But the kingdom of God is not built within us or in the Church by human skill, strength or wisdom. John 6:63: the flesh profits nothing.

The answer to all the straining and huffing-puffing winds is to stop rowing around in circles and invite Him into our boat.

So they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going. John 6:21


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