The night wore on, but the storm showed no sign of letting up. Peter stood at the stern of the boat, tiller in hand, shouting orders at everyone. James and John were at the oars straining to move the small craft forward against the wind and waves, and Andrew was running around in response to Peter’s commands, trying to keep everyone and everything in the boat. The others were huddled near the middle, holding tight to each other and anything else they could get their hands on. Everyone was wet. Everyone was tired. It was 3 AM.
Thomas glanced toward an unseen shoreline they had left hours before and wondered about turning back – when he froze. He screamed, his cry piercing through the din of the storm. Other’s eyes followed his to the figure of a man walking over the water toward them. Fear overtook them all, then. Peter, whose eyes were still focused ahead, swore at them, understanding the extreme peril they were in from the storm. Andrew, saying nothing, pointed a shaking hand aft. Peter glanced back, and dropped to his knees, gasping at the sight, unable to control his aching muscles.
A voice then floated across the water. “Calm down. It’s just me. Don’t be afraid.” Their tired eyes strained to make out who it was. It sounded like Jesus, but how could that be? Peter forced himself to his feet. “Lord, if that IS you, ask me to come to you on the water.” Jesus smiled, shaking his head slightly. “Come,” was all he said.
Many of us heard this story as children. We know that Peter gets out of the boat and walks toward Jesus, but then loses heart and begins to sink, so Jesus reaches out and saves him. Peter had to be just a little crazy to say those words, and a little crazier to act on them.
Our faith has become too sane: we have studied it, analyzed it, and figured it out. We know what to say and do to stay in the boat. We can look and act the part; but every once in a while, Jesus calls us to be just a little bit crazy, to get out of that boat and to walk to him on the water.
The Bible is full of people doing crazy things for God. Noah builds an ark where there was no water, Abraham left home to go somewhere unknown, Moses obeyed a voice from a burning bush, Gideon led 300 against 300,000, the apostles faced persecution and death with joy.
The life Jesus calls us to is a life on the water – it’s a little bit crazy, it takes belief without proof, it requires sacrifice without immediate reward. Our obedience could lead to ruin or death. Who takes those kinds of risks? Who lives that kind of life?
Those before us have given us the example, beginning with Jesus who set everything aside to obey the Father and bring us into the family. Right now, there are 35,000 or so cross-cultural kingdom workers from the US only making sacrifices to continue that legacy. Is Jesus asking you to consider joining them? Are you that crazy?!