Mark 3:9

So Jesus told his disciples to keep a small boat close by, so that the crowd would not crush him.

when there is no more room
extend yourself
into a wilderness of the deep

pushed into a retreat
embrace your limits
find an unexpected small still-open space

surprise a retreat is spacious
limits are removed
more ears are touched than hands can hold

circumstances go beyond planning
opening available responses
and water-walking practice

Many commentators question the use of “small” here. However, it does comport well with the concern about being crushed, either by those plotting against him or a curious crowd.

A small boat can be nimble. The very largeness of a boat can draw further attention to it and invite stowaways. All in all, a nice touch.

It is important to note that differing languages and cultures assign different qualities of life to objects. There are those wherein people can be “ready” but inanimate objects such as a boat cannot hold that quality. They can have place, but not purpose, intent, or independent action.

In English a boat can be prepared and ready for use. Boats also remind us of the way in which Jesus’ followers were located when called to follow. There is an immediacy to readiness for following. By extension, a question continues about our current readiness to follow. If we do, there will be work to be done to prepare for our souls and bodies to deal with crushing threats.

An ability to identify and use vehicles to retreat or to enter a retreat will be a critical tool for our tool-chest or treasure-chest. As a treasure-chest is stocked it becomes more and more useful. We will be able to bring more tools out to deal with a given situation. An anointing, a prayer, a retreat, a willingness to not have a trial taken from us, an inspired response, etc. will come easier to hand when we know we have it held and ready for use. Instead of a shield and breastplate for protection we might rather use a MacGyver- or Batman-useful tool belt, utility belt, treasure belt.

Ready your small, daily, set of tools and retreat vehicles.