Boats don’t float because they choose to do so; they don’t float because they try really hard; they don’t float because they've earned the right to float. Boats float because someone made them to float. Someone decided how they would be shaped, how big they would be, what they would be used for, and what work they would do for their owners. Someone spent a good amount of time building the boat exactly how they wanted it, in order to use it for the task for which it was made.
When I think about boats I think about Gibbs. Leroy Jethro Gibbs is one of the main characters on the television show NCIS. Gibbs leads a team of special agents as they solve crimes involving Navy and Marine personnel. More than that, Gibbs is always building a boat in his basement. In 10 seasons, he has built at least four boats, though no one knows how he gets them out of his basement. There are many scenes where Gibbs is working on making his boat. He’s very specific about what tools he uses (hand tools, not power tools) as well as the proper technique for building a boat.
Just as a boat doesn't get to decide what it will be used for, we don’t get to decide how God wants to use us. Sure we can tell Him no, but do we really want to do that? He has a plan for our lives, a good plan, and even though we may not like some of the things we have to go through, those are the very things that God is using to mold us into the likeness of Jesus. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like a boat being sanded down in Gibbs’ basement. It’s a dirty, painful process but in the end I will be a beautiful masterpiece!
The first several verses of Ephesians 2 chronicles where we came from. We “were dead in our trespasses and sins;” we followed “the prince of the power of the air;” we “lived in the passions of our flesh;” we “were by nature children of wrath.” The good news is that God d didn't leave us there! While we were still dead in our sins God saved us. Out of the richness of God’s mercy, and because of His great love for us, He “made us alive together with Christ.” God bestowed mercy and grace on us – and He continues to do so each and every day.
Verses 8-9 reveal how we were saved. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” We can’t save ourselves. Nothing we can do can make God love us more than He does already. These words should be freeing to anyone, but how much more for those of us who live with chronic illnesses? There is so much freedom in our relationship with Christ. We don’t have to feel guilty about all of the things we think we should be doing, but can’t. He frees us from the guilt, He redeems our failures, He bestows grace and mercy to us, and He loves us unconditionally. We are His masterpiece! What do you say - should we get out of the basement, and go find some water to float on? God has something special waiting for us there.
“Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” –Psalm 118:5-6
© November 6, 2012