Boats And Tides

Rich Dixon helps us look for Jesus.


A popular metaphor says a rising tide lifts all boats.

Let’s take a different look at this comforting little platitude. What if it’s a parable? What if it’s a story about a community where everyone floats on the same ocean?

In this community, many of us are safely tucked away in sturdy boats. Others are frantically plugging leaks, bailing water, and working feverishly to remain afloat.

And for those with no boat at all? That rising tide represents an impending flood and a desperate, hourly battle simply to tread water.

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As a Jesus follower, “my boat” doesn’t belong to me. (Jesus told a story about servants and bags of gold.)

I’m a steward. So when I’m blessed with a safe, dry vessel, the point isn’t simply to enjoy the ride on the biggest, fanciest cabin cruiser while I neglect the castaways desperately kicking and thrashing against the waves.

I’m directed to be aware of, and seek justice for, those in danger of drowning.

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Imagine  a real-life lake: If we encountered a boat in danger of sinking, wouldn’t we stop to help? Would any of us cruise past a drowning child without at least tossing a life preserver?

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Back to the parable: I can drift along comfortably, enjoying the rising tide that lifts my boat while I dismiss, ignore, or explain away the struggles of so many others on our shared ocean.

I’m reminded, though, that Jesus didn’t tend to hang out on luxury yachts. He said we’d find Him with the least of these, those struggling just to keep their heads above the surface. He said clearly that when I neglect them, I turn my back on Him.

The One I call “Lord” is among those clinging desperately to makeshift rafts.