Matthew 14:25 And early in the morning (Jesus) came walking toward (the disciples) on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” 28 Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
With 12 men as Jesus’ disciples, they were bound to have varying personalities. We know very little about most of them, but Peter is an exception. It would appear that Peter was something of a leader among the twelve, so he is mentioned in scripture quite a bit. Our story for today is a great example.
First of all, Peter was rather impulsive. He was from the “ready-fire-aim” school, meaning he tended to take action before thinking things through. If your initial tendency is to act rather than think, raise your hand (Mine’s up in the air). Action oriented people can be a real gift. They will tend to keep things moving when obstacles threaten to bog things down. They’re not afraid to try things they’ve never done, or go places they’ve never seen. They may be wary of the unknown like everyone else, but they will often choose to go forward nonetheless. And take others with them.
The downside to action oriented people is they will tend to drive into ditches more frequently than others – and take others with them. And, because they will tend to get bored with the status quo pretty quickly, follow-through on plans can be a problem. Such people could avoid much of the heartbreak they experience if they would simply slow down a bit. And think first. Make a plan. What’s the rush?
Others of you are more like the other disciples in the boat, people I’ll refer to as “thoughtful”. They were glad to watch Peter walk on water – because that’s just crazy! Who in their right mind would leave the protection of a boat in the middle of a storm? HELLO??!! Like these disciples, you’re glad to allow others to go first, particularly if you’re headed into something that is new or unknown to you. You take comfort in making a plan because you understand that planning is not the enemy of action. It’s just smart. Why go off half-cocked when you don’t have to? And, most of all, you hate surprises. Planning minimizes the chances you’ll get blind-sided on the journey. If this describes you, raise your hand.
The downside to thoughtful people is you can create paralysis by analysis. If you’re not careful, you can think yourself in circles and end up going nowhere. Two important truths to consider this morning:
(1) Thoughtful people tend to drive action-oriented people crazy, and vice-versa.
(2) The Kingdom of God needs both kinds of people.
We need the action-oriented to move the Kingdom forward in the midst of the unknown. We need thoughtful people to create plans so that time, energy, and resources are not wasted – and we’re not driving head-long into one ditch after another. Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, this morning we thank you that you created people to be different – because your Kingdom needs all kinds. Give us grace to grow in maturity, whether we’re action-oriented or thoughtful. And help us to appreciate those who see things differently than we do. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.