Row, Row, Row Your Boat
"Let a man so consider us, as servants (under-rowers) of Christ..." (1 Corinthians 4:1).
I recall a Far Side cartoon depicting two slaves, shackled together on a wharf, awaiting the arrival of a Roman galley. "That's a beautiful ship," one slave says to the other. "I wonder what makes it go?"
Larson’s cartoon calls Paul's analogy to mind. "You should think of Sosthenes (Paul's sidekick) and me as 'under-rowers'—just like the slaves that row Roman galleys." Everyone knew what Paul was writing about; it was a common sight in his day.
Slaves sat on benches facing the rear of the boat, deep in the hold, manning their sweeps and looking up at a helmsman that stood above them on the aft deck with the tiller in his hand. The helmsman's job was to call the cadence of the rowers, and determine the course and speed with which the galley made headway. “Like watermen that row one way and look another” their task was to fix their eyes on the helmsman and row.
So it is that we serve as Jesus' under-rowers—subject to Him as the helmsman of His Church. He alone can see the horizon. He alone determines the speed with which we make progress and the direction in which we go.
Is this the time for a new direction? A new pace? If so, the helmsman will show me in due time. In the meantime, my job is to fix my eyes on Jesus and row.