By Todd Pekel


Asking if Jesus can use your boat isn't as strange as it may sound at first. After all, it is no coincidence that in the Scriptures, a person’s body is often called, or referred to, as a vessel. One of the great subjects of the Scriptures is the type of vessel a person becomes in this life; as there are, and always have been, vessels unto honor and vessels unto dishonor. Sure, there are other objects; (household items, utensils, etc.) that are also called vessels in the Scriptures, but I want to draw your attention to the correlation between the human body and those vessels that float on water.

Luke 5:1-3:
And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,
2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.

All of a sudden, seemingly, Jesus had a need. He needed a vessel to use so that He could launch out a ways from shore and teach the people. Now, I don’t think Simon had spent the day washing and waxing his boat getting it ready for the Lord to use. He probably didn’t have it freshly painted or re-upholstered that day either.

It’s a fact; fishing vessels can get a bit “ripe” with all the fish remains and blood and what not lying around. If you don’t know this first hand, ask someone who has been around working boats.

In short, I would venture to say that Simon’s boat was neither better nor worse than the other boats there. It was probably pretty average as far as fishing boats go.

Now, what’s all this got to do with Jesus using your boat? I’m glad you asked.

While on my trip to the USA this summer I had a remarkable experience. Right there, in the middle of the day, without having spent the morning waxing and polishing my boat so to speak, Jesus showed up and needed to use this vessel.

I was attending a charity golf event with some old friends and was at the steak dinner afterwards. There were probably close to 150 people. I had been sitting on one side of the group when I got up and made my way through the crowd towards the clubhouse. About three quarters of the way through I stopped to talk to a girl I recognized from my neighborhood from when I was about 10 to 12 years old.

While chatting and catching up I noticed a guy at the table next to us starting to go very, very red. He lifted his hands to his throat and some of the guys at the table began teasing him as if he were faking or something. The color in his face changed from a red to purple as his lack of oxygen was now quite evident. One of the guys at the table stood him up and tried to do upward abdominal thrusts (otherwise known as the Heimlich manoeuvre) on him. He stopped after a couple attempts, as the man who was choking had quite a large midsection and the man attempting to do the thrusts couldn’t really get any leverage on him.

What to do, right? Well, without thinking really I pushed the man who was attempting the thrusts away and then grabbed the guy who was choking. I reached around him and started to thrust upward into his stomach with all of my might. Not much happened except the man began to go limp in my arms, and I was afraid he was ready to pass out and lose consciousness.

I thrust again, really using all of my strength, while thinking about telling someone to get me a steak knife, as I thought I would have to do an emergency tracheotomy on this choking man. One final, full-strength thrust was enough to finally dislodge and eject a big chunk of steak from this man’s throat and windpipe.

He was more than a little shaken, to say the least. I put my hand on his shoulder and reassured him that he was okay. I kept telling him that it was all over. That he would be alright. We stood there for a couple of awkward minutes not knowing really what to do or say. I just wanted to comfort him knowing that he had had a horrible experience. It seems like time stood still for a few seconds.

Some of the people near us then came up to us and congratulated us. A couple of the guys shook my hand and one guy even offered me an ice-cold refreshment. It seemed like that was the end of that.

Well, a short time later (twenty minutes or so) the man who I had helped came up to me and we began to talk. He shook my hand and thanked me for saving him. That’s when Jesus showed up to use this vessel.

I shared with him how that it was no coincidence that I was there that day (living in Greece as I do and all) and how that God really does love him. [Actually, the whole situation did seem coincidental. I had run into an old friend by chance a few days before the golf event who had told me about it. I then, accidentally, bumped into an old friend from the neighborhood who just happened to be there at that spot near his table at that very moment this man needed me – kind of like Simon’s boat just happened to be there, right?]

I shared how that Jesus knocks on the door of our heart and if we are willing to open the door to him, he and the Father will come and dwell in us. I told him that Jesus was knocking on the door of his heart right then and there. I told him that Jesus loves him so much that he took his sins upon himself when he was crucified; the just for the unjust, the righteous for the unrighteous. I also said that the Bible is true and that he could be certain that God has raised Jesus from the dead.

As these words were coming out of my mouth tears began streaming down this man’s face. I told him he needed to repent and that God would be with him and that he wouldn’t let him go... that he was very special in God’s eyes. The man – his name is Steve – then said, he believed!! Glory to God! He believes!

Imagine the circumstances. Imagine the situation. Imagine how changed Steve’s life is and will be!

So the next time you’re going about your day and maybe not feeling too special about much of anything, just remember that Jesus might have a sudden and unexpected need to use a vessel. The question is; can Jesus use your boat?



From the November 2008 issue of The Vine & Branches