Frequently in the Gospels we hear reference to the fact that Jesus is in a boat belonging to one or more of the Apostles.  These stories of Jesus in the boat provide wonderful stewardship lessons and also can be a great motivation for students to learn to trust in God and to turn their lives over to God.  The stories can be used for classroom discussion or prayer services. 

The Call of Simon the Fisherman – Luke 5:1-11

In this story crowds of people are pushing around Jesus.  He is standing on the shore of the lake and he gets into an empty boat.  The story tells us that the boats were empty because the fishermen who owned the boats were cleaning their nets.  Jesus calls to Simon Peter and asks him to move the boat out a little bit from shore so that Jesus can use it almost as a stage from which to teach the people.

 

Discuss the following with your students:

  • For a man like Simon Peter, who makes his living by fishing, his boat is probably the most important thing he owns.  What does Peter allowing Jesus to use his boat say about Peter’s relationship with Jesus?  Do we have that kind of relationship with Jesus?
  • Simon Peter trusted Jesus enough to do everything that Jesus asked Him to do in the story.  Do we trust Jesus that much?
  • Jesus used Peter’s boat to teach the people.  What might we have that Jesus could use to teach people about God?  Money we put in the Offertory?  Food or clothes we donate to the poor?  Kindness we show to someone who needs help?
  • How can we let Jesus into our lives just like Peter let Jesus into his boat?

 

The Calming of a Storm at Sea – Mark 4:35-41

St. Theresa of Lisieux, who is known as the Little Flower, would often say that “Jesus was sleeping in her boat.”  The motivation behind this saying is the story in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus is asleep in the Apostles’ boat when a great storm comes up.  If we are going to truly follow Jesus and be good stewards throughout our lives we need to first learn to trust that Jesus will take care of us.

 

Discuss the following with your students:

  • Jesus was sleeping in the boat because he was tired from teaching the crowds all day.  We may not have a boat for Jesus to sleep in, but how can we help Him spread his message to other people today?
  • Jesus says to the Apostles, “Why are you terrified?  Do you not yet have faith?”  Mark 4:40.  When are there times in our lives when we might be terrified and have to put our faith in Jesus?
  • Could we ever be worried or unsure when we feel Jesus asking us to share our time, our talent or our treasure?  What should our response be? 
  • If we think of our lives as a boat, who should be the captain – us or Jesus?

 

Follow-Up Project

The Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Theresa of Lisieux on October 1.  Have students research her life and the ways that she truly did let Jesus take control of her life and sleep in her boat.  As a reminder to let God be in charge of their lives, have students make bookmarks for themselves with a drawing of a boat and the words, “Jesus is in my boat!”