“He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat” (Luke 5:3 NIV).
I starting loving boats and motorcycles at a very early age. To me, they represented more than transportation. They were shortcuts to adventure. And I loved adventure! I guess I’ve always been an adrenaline junky.
My uncles and cousins all started getting bikes when I was around 10 years old. I really wanted one of my own. When I was 11, my Aunt Theda bought a used Honda 70 and gave it to me and my brother Barry. Man, we loved that bike! We finally had a bike that belonged to us. You wouldn’t believe the stories I could tell (and the scars I could show) that happened to us on that little Honda.
My love of motocycles led to a friendship with a school mate named Bruce. I started hanging out with him when I was around 14 years old. By that time I had a Honda 125. Bruce had a beast of a bike, a Yamaha 250 motocross. His bike scared me and I liked it! He lived at South Holston Lake and had several boats too. When we weren’t riding bikes, we were riding boats. Sometimes we’d take two boats out at a time. We’d use his dad’s inboard to make a big wake and take turns on his little fiberglass two-seater jumping over the wake. Now, I dreamed of owning a boat too.
Fast forward a decade or so and I’m married, we’ve got three kids, a dog, a house in Roanoke (that I needed to sell), a house in Wilson, a waterfront house at Smith Mountain Lake, and a boat. As a child I had dreamed of owning these things and now I did. But what surprised me is that I really wasn’t happy. I felt like these things owned me, instead of me owning them (Can you say “three mortgages!”?).
Owning these things wasn’t turning out to be the adventure I’d dreamed. I was working 70 hours a week for a large corporation and barely had time to do more than pay the bills. Plus, I knew that God had called me to the ministry and I wasn’t doing it. That was one adventure that was just too scary even for me. Why? Because it looked like that I’d have to let go of my belongings in order to do it.
Finally, my misery became greater than my fear. I had to do something. It was time to begin another kind of adventure, one that wasn’t about having more belongings, but touching more human beings. God was calling me to the most thrilling ride of my life!
So, I quit my corporate job. I cashed out my 401K. Sold my corporate stocks and options. I even sold my lake house (I held on to it as long as I could, but it had to go too). I used the money to support my family while attending seminary for three years.
But I held on to the boat. I kept it in the garage. We took it out on the Tar River Reservoir from time to time. We enjoyed it.
By then, God had called us to plant Wilson Community Church and the church needed a van to haul equipment. We had attracted all these young families and money was tight. One day, as I stood looking at my Bayliner boat sitting in the garage, I could see that the new adventure required a van more than a boat. So, we sold the boat and bought a van for the church. That 1982 Chevy Beauville wasn’t much to look at, but we lovingly named her “Bertha” and used her to carry sound equipment and nursery equipment for years.
This year, God has us setting out on another adventure. He has miraculously opened the door for our church to “own” a property valued at more than 2.2 million dollars for the amazing amount of $285,000.00. This shouldn’t be possible! The owners turned down several offers for much more in the past couple of years. But for some crazy (God) reason, they’ve accepted our offer!
Recently, I felt drawn out to my garage again… looking. This time I see my Honda VT1100 Shadow sitting there. I haven’t had it long. But I know what God is thinking.
“Will let me use it? Will you trust Me again with your belongings?” I sense Him ask.
My answer? You can find it on craigslist.com. Just look for a big, black, chromed out Honda cruiser for sale in Wilson, NC. You’ll find a photo of my bike sitting in front of the garage. I’m learning to let go of stuff more quickly. I don’t want to let my belongings cause me to miss the real adventure.
So, I’m giving it back to God. He needs it for a downpayment on His building. He’s calling me to push out and go deep. I don’t need to own a boat or a motorcycle to feel the splash on my face and the wind in my hair. God has called me to a greater adventure and I’m having the ride of my life!
What belongs to you? If you really listen, you’ll hear Jesus ask to use it. It’s amazing what he can do with a boat, or some fishes, or bread, or a donkey, or … a motorcycle.