By Joe Babendreier
What are you doing with your boat? Maybe you have never had a boat, so you’re wondering what I’m talking about. I can only insist that it’s part of understanding the Gospel to ask: What are you doing with your boat? Will you let Jesus use it to help him save souls?
St Luke tells us that Jesus asked Simon Peter for his boat. There were so many people who wanted to listen to him talk about the kingdom of God that it was easier to preach to them from a boat. The people stood on the shore.
When Jesus finished, he told Peter it was time to go fishing. Peter obeyed, took his boat out into the lake and filled his nets. He caught so many fish that there wasn’t enough room in the boat. He had to call some friends to help him, and they filled both boats. Maybe now you get the idea.
The fish are a symbol for souls that need to be saved. The boat is a symbol for the work you do in the middle of the world. That’s what I had in mind when I asked: What are you doing with your boat? Will you let Jesus use it to help him save souls?
A BIT PUZZLED?
Maybe you’re still a bit puzzled. Maybe you never thought your ordinary work was something Jesus could use to save souls. We usually think of people saving souls by preaching.
Some preachers build a church and use it to gather people to listen to the word of God. Some preachers just go out into the street and start preaching to anyone who will listen. You may even remember how the apostles, on the day of Pentecost, started preaching the Gospel that way—right there in the middle of the city of Jerusalem. Preaching is important, but it’s not the whole story.
The comparison between Peter’s boat and your work has nothing to do with preaching and everything to do with fulfilling your ordinary duties. Maybe you work at home taking care of your family.
Maybe you’re a lorry driver. Maybe you do business, moving up and down all day long. Maybe you sit at a desk in an office “pushing paper”. It doesn’t matter what you do. What matters is that you tell Jesus: “Use my work in any way you want to spread the Gospel.”
I cannot tell you what will happen. But Jesus will be very happy that you’re ready for whatever he wants to do. Somehow—it’s up to the Holy Spirit—you will find yourself talking to others about God. I don’t mean that you’re going to preach to them. Not at all. It’s something simple, usually just answering questions that people will ask you because they see that you are trying to live a Christian life.