After dismissing the crowds, he went up the hill by himself to pray; and, when evening fell, he was there alone. The boat was by this time some miles from shore, laboring in the waves, for the wind was against her. Three hours after midnight, however, Jesus came towards the disciples, walking on the water. But, when they saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they exclaimed, and cried out for fear. But Jesus at once spoke to them. “Courage!” he said, “It is I; do not be afraid!” (Matthew 14:23-27)
Towards the end of his life, Karl Marx told the story of the philosopher who hired a boatman and a boat to take him across the river.
“Do you know history?” asked the philosopher.
“No,” replied the boatman.
“Then you’ve wasted half your life.”
They went a little further. “Have you studied mathematics?” the philosopher asked.
“No,” the boatman replied again.
“Then you’ve wasted more than half your life.”
A storm came up and the boat capsized, throwing both of them in the water.
“Can you swim?” asked the boatman.
“No,” replied the philosopher.
“Then you have wasted the whole of your life,” the boatman replied.
There are so many things in life that look very important. To an academic like the philosopher—and an intellectual like Marx—so many people look so ignorant.
But when the storms of life come up—and especially when the trip across that last river into eternity happens—what’s really important is that you’re traveling with the man who can not only swim, but also walk on the water and pull you out when you can’t!