revjoaquinwillisweb.gifAs a weak swimmer, I have strived to stay out of deep water, and have declined many invitations for boat trips and cruises.  This could change but, in general, risk taking is not in my nature.

In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins posits that the reason many people and businesses never make the leap from “good to great” resides in their fear of risk or change.  Most, says Collins, operate upon “change myths.”  Change does not result from the burning of old models, or from acquisitions and takeovers, or from technology.  Change is not achieved through coercion and fear, but by more subtle means.        

Collins is adamant that to create and sustain greatness, discipline of thought and action are required. I agree. Instead of leaning upon myths, I suggest that we obtain a clearer view of God, His word, and the power of faith to guide our handling of life’s problems.  We need to contemplate the danger of casting out into the deep without Jesus on board.  Folks, it’s always wise to make certain He is a passenger on every journey!

When it comes to self discipline, there is no better example than Jesus.  “When he had finished speaking (from the boat), He said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down the nets for a catch’” (Luke 5:4).  Jesus took action, first by getting into the boat, and then by instructing and positioning His followers for success. 

Jesus directed his attention to Peter, who was aware that He had healed the sick and driven out demons. Peter was amazed that
Jesus, who could effect divine change, cared about the day-to-day routines of humble fishermen, and of their economic well being.   

Jesus started his movement by responding to the “who” and not the “what” question.  He called upon certain men to follow as His disciples because they were disciplined. We, too, need to think about the character of those on board with us before deciding upon a destination. Christ knew that an understanding of people must precede any plan.     

With the “right” people, we have an opportunity to get ahead faster, smarter, and with less turbulence. By choosing carefully, we eliminate many problems. Those who are self-motivated, morally correct, and intelligent will outperform, in every way, those who are wicked, trifling and self-serving.  

Christ’s primary discipline was grounded upon His faith in God. He followed through and remained focused in all His teaching. He challenged us to cast our nets on the “right side” of the boat. 

Those who are disciplined always pause to consider their companions before setting forth. Disciplined thought demands that attention be paid to the key matters in life.  Disciplined action forces a focus not upon good things, but upon godly things. 

The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami.  To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at