Overboard! by Randy Rowley 2/1/08 ©


On a dark and cold February night, three friends and I went white bass fishing on Lake Travis, west of Austin.  After we launched the late Derrich Pollock’s bass boat, we proceeded to go glass minnow hunting.  Derrich drove his boat at idle speed close to shore and shined a spotlight in front of and next to his boat while Eddy Chance scooped up minnows with a long minnow net.

We headed to the Cedar Park pump station after catching enough glass minnows to fill a medium-sized minnow bucket.  We tied up, put fishing lights down around 20′, and started dunking minnows.  After an hour of not much success, we decided to try the Jonestown pump station.

As soon as we tied up there, we started catching white bass.  They were huddled up near the bottom and were hungry!  We caught white bass steadily.  But the minnows weren’t looking very good after another hour – several appeared to be near death.  Derrich asked Eddy to add fresh water to the minnow bucket, as he was closest to it.  Little did we know how enthusiastically Eddy would complete this task.

As Eddy leaned over the boat’s bow filling the minnow bucket with water, a big wave from a passing boat hit Derrich’s boat, causing it to dip.  Eddy was not expecting this, and when the bow dropped, he lost his balance and fell face-first into the water!

To make matters worse, he got his belt stuck on a boat cleat, so his top half was underwater, and his bottom half was still on the boat!  Derrich and I sprang to Eddy’s aid (Dave Brandt couldn’t help as he was answering the call of nature at the boat’s stern (rear)).  Derrich reached for Eddy’s belt, but just before he could grab it, Eddy slid out of his pants, and his bottom half joined his top half in the 50-degree water.

Eddy surfaced in a couple of seconds, and Derrich and I hauled him back onto the boat.  Fortunately, we brought extra clothes, so Eddy didn’t freeze.  The other unfortunate happening was all the minnows escaped when Eddy took his short swim.

We caught a few more minnows and resumed fishing.  But now, the quiet of the night was interrupted occasionally by sudden bursts of uncontrollable laughter as Eddy’s swim played back in our minds.  Despite the accidental dunking, we came home with a medium-sized cooler full of 100 white bass – four limits!

Did you know God wants us to be like Eddy – to go overboard for him?  He doesn’t want us to dip our toes in and test the waters.  He wants us to plunge right in.

The Bible is full of recounts about people who went overboard and plunged right in for God.  Examples include:

  • God told Noah to build an ark to save his family and two of every creature that walked the earth from a flood when it had yet to rain on the earth. Noah did it, and he, his family, and all the creatures with him were saved. (See Genesis 6:5-9:17.)
  • The Egyptian army had trapped the Hebrews against the Red Sea. God told Moses to part the waters of the Red Sea.  He did it, and the Hebrews went through the sea on dry ground.  Then the pursuing Egyptian army was destroyed when the waters returned to normal. (See Exodus 14:9-31.)
  • God told Joshua and the Hebrews to march around Jericho for six days and march around it again, blow trumpets, and shout on the seventh day. They did it, and the walls fell, and they destroyed Jericho. (See Joshua 5:13 – 6:20.)
  • God told Gideon to take on the Median army of tens of thousands with only 300 men. He did it, and the Israelites wiped out the Median army. (See Judges 6:11 – 7:23.)
  • After feeding five thousand men with only five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus told his disciples to take a boat across the Sea of Galilee while he stayed behind to send away the multitude and pray.  A storm arose on the sea, and it caught the disciple’s boat, and the waves tossed it about.  Adding to their fear, the disciples saw a man walking on the sea during the night.  Thinking he was a ghost, they cried out in fear.  When Jesus told them not to fear because it was him, a skeptical Peter challenged him saying, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”  Jesus did as Peter asked.  Peter then walked on the water toward Jesus. (See Matthew 14:22–30.)
  • Acts 1:3 – 2:47 and several other passages in the book of Acts recount how the apostles went overboard after receiving the Holy Spirit, going from men who were in hiding because they feared the Romans would kill them like they did Jesus to bold witnesses for Christ ,sharing the redemption of sin through Christ to the lost.
  • Acts 6:8 – 8:3, 9:1 – 9:22, and most of the rest of the book of Acts recount how Paul went overboard after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, going from a persecutor of Christians to the greatest missionary to the Gentiles and the writer of almost half of the New Testament.

Since Biblical times many people have gone overboard for God, such as Martin Luther, David Livingston, John Wesley, Charles Wesley, Dwight L. Moody, C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham, Josh McDonald, James Dobson, and thousands of pastors and missionaries.

Paul gave a great example of going overboard in 1 Corinthians 9:24–27, which says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”  The short version is he gave Jesus everything he had.

In reading the Hall of Fame of the Faithful in Hebrews chapter 11, eighteen of the forty verses begin with “By faith.”  Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”  If we don’t have faith, we can’t go overboard for God.

Hebrews 11:32 – 34 says, “And what more shall I say?  I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.”  Faith is as essential to a Christian as air is to our bodies – without air, we’ll soon be dead, and without faith, we’re spiritually dead.

Have you gone overboard for God, or have you just gotten your toes wet?  If you haven’t gone overboard for him, I encourage you to step out in faith and plunge right in.

Categories : Devotionals

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Bible Verse of the Day

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.