Excuse or Excel

September 18, 2000

Excuse or Excel – Part IV
Right Here or Right Place

Luke 8th Chapter
22 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. 23But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. 24And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him. 26And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.

There is a slang term used to describe a situation when a person tries to pretend his/her mistake or action never existed. This term is called “playing it off.” For example, when a child breaks that favorite vase, when questioned he/she will do one of three things to “play it off.” (1) Try to pretend not to see the vase in hopes that the mother or father does not see it as well. (2) Give a perplexed look when questioned about the vase, hoping the judge and jury will dismiss the case. (3) Give that timeless response that is supposed to answer every question… “Ionknow?.” [English translation: I don’t know.]

In this week’s text, we see Jesus and the disciples in a ship heading to Gadarenes.
During the ride, a storm arose and their boat began to fill with water; they were
truly in jeopardy. Because they were afraid, they woke up Jesus and He rebuked
the water and the wind, causing both to cease from raging. Now here’s where it
gets interesting. After Jesus calmed the sea and the wind, He asked the disciples
one of the most important questions of their lives: “Where is your faith?” Let’s
think about this for a moment.

Here were the disciples being asked by Jesus, “where is your faith?” Instead of pondering this question, they “played it off” by replying to one another, “What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him” (25th). Come on!! What has this got to do with the question!! Jesus really put it out there to them, and they never acknowledged the question or the real problem — their lack of faith.   And because they did not address or better yet, confess, their lack of faith, we see the result in the 26th verse.

Luke 8:26 “And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.”

Instead of riding out the storm completely, they wanted out of the storm all together.
Now they did the right thing in calling on Jesus to stop the storm, but they did
the wrong thing by not believing in Him enough to take them safely through the
storm. Throughout the bible we see characters go through trials and tribulations.
We see them in the impossible sometimes just for God to bring them out and get
the glory. But in this case, the disciples had the luxury of getting out early.
Now let’s get real and be honest here. During each of our trials and tribulations,
if God said, “I can let you out here if you want out or we can go further,” many
of us would decide that “right here” is as good-a-place as any to get out. But
that should not be the case.

As Veronica and I discussed this message, Veronica brought up a valid point. She stated that the disciples got what they wanted even though they “played off” Jesus question.   This is very true. However, even though they got what they wanted, they didn’t get what they needed! Yes, Jesus came up on the deck and calmed the wind and the sea, which is what they wanted. But still there was something greater that they needed to get while out there on that boat — increased faith. Let’s look into this.

After entering Gadarenes, Jesus came upon a man possessed with many demons who
called themselves Legion. Jesus cast the demons out of him (Luke 8:27-37). There
was also the woman with an issue of blood who was healed by touching Jesus’ garment
(Luke 8:43-48). Then He met Jairus whose daughter died, yet He raised her from
the dead (Luke 8:49-56). Now if the disciples had gotten the faith they needed
to get while on the boat, they could have done the miracles that Jesus did. Yet
this did not occur because they got what they wanted instead of what they needed.

I know from experience that a walk of faith is not always the easiest thing to
do. But through that walk, God is trying to get us somewhere. He’s trying to get
us from “right here” to the “right place.” But if we never have a walk of faith,
we will never get to where God wants us to be. He doesn’t want us to stay babes
in Christ forever; He wants us to become sons and daughters of His kingdom. He
wants us off the spiritual milk and on the spiritual meat. So as we begin to go
through the tests of faith, know that asking God to “let me out right here” is
not the wrong thing to do. However we should also be asking Him, “Let me get what
I need” as well. By doing so we will grow up spiritually and get from “right here”
to the “right place” in the kingdom.