Lessons in the Boat
"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14
Once a year, I take my leadership team away for a personal spiritual retreat and a time to pray and plan for the coming months. This year the lake provided much needed solace, sabbath, fun and laughter. On our last evening we hurried through dinner and quickly made our way to the boat for a sunset cruise. I moved from my original position to the seat that was front center, facing toward the back. This gave me a great view of all six of those called of the Lord to partner with me in discipling women. They stared into the sunset as I stared at them and the pattern of the wake made from the boat pushing through the water. I rejoiced in the goodness of the Lord and snapped pictures of their faces beaming with the joy of the Lord. My eyes moved beyond the boat, the treasured faces, the beautiful wake and then widened to see the vastness of the lake, the trees, the sky and all of the beauty surrounding us.
Shortly I decided to move to the back of the boat facing forward and declared:
“I have seen where we have been,
now let me see where we are going.”
As I heard my own words I was aware they held meaning for our personal lives as well as for the ministry. Since returning from the retreat, I have pondered those words and gained great wisdom.
Take note of who you are journeying with. Whether it is your family, business partners, co-workers, staff or ministry team, take time to look at them and appreciate them. Each one is fearfully and wonderfully made and should be valued as so. Thank God for them and the uniqueness of each one and the unique way each carries and displays God.
Don’t stare at the empty seats in your boat. Those who once were there but no longer are for whatever reason. Their absence does not deter God’s plan. Thank Him for what you once had and press on. Look beyond the boat to see the glory of God all around you.
Take time to glance at where you have been. Look backward long enough to see God’s hand in it all, remembering His faithfulness. Pondering the goodness of the Lord gives us courage to face the difficult places in front of us.
Remember the lessons learned. Thank Him for all the difficult waters He has led you through and the tools He has given you in those places. Toss out any fear attached to the past.
Don’t allow the enemy in your boat. He will take a seat uninvited and will bring a yoke of heaviness, distraction and discouragement. He will cause a raucous in the stern and get you off course. Throw him overboard quicker than Jonah was tossed into the sea. Set your eyes on the Son in front of you.
Let the wake of the past give you anticipation of what is to come. Get up and move, positioning yourself to look at where you are going. Live looking outward and forward. Live life staring at Him, allowing Him to give you His perspective. He knows what is ahead.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11
Boat life is intended to accomplish kingdom results. Remember God has placed you in the boat together for His purposes, not just to be family and friends. We are steering toward a destination that is far more glorious than the sunset. Our eyes are set on Him and accomplishing our God given purpose for the Kingdom of God. Seek to know Him and His purpose everyday.
From one boater to another:
“Be encouraged. There is great purpose in your journey. Press on toward the goal. As you live out of His life within you, you carry His name making a lasting wake for the entire world to glorify His name. Make a lasting mark. Leave a legacy of faith for those coming behind you. Your wake will propel them into their future. “