So often through Scripture we read about Jesus hanging out in boats with his homies. I wonder what kind of boats Jesus would jump in if he had his skin on today. Would he walk around on the QE2 as it crosses the Atlantic, checking out the outrageous buffets? Would he join the modern fishing boats off the Maine shore? Would he ask to navigate the barges full of trash traveling through our oceans? Or what about the various personal watercraft? These questions ran wild in my imagination as I visited the Indianapolis Rowing Center last week. As one of the coaches explained the dynamics of rowing and the jobs of each crew member, I drew some comparisons between Jesus and the Coxswain, a.k.a. the Cox’n, in a rowing boat.
The Cox’n is the person to whom we attribute the shout outs: “Row. Row. Row.” But that’s such a limited view of this important part of the rowing team. Hmmm, sort of how I view Jesus sometimes… just sitting in my boat shouting out a few words every once in a while. Just give me some direction now and then, Jesus. All the while, forgetting that He is so much more. Means so much more. Has so much more.
After all, look at me. I am Rower. Strong and Mighty. I have the strength to get myself far down river. Sure I am part of a team, but without my contribution they would be weak. Look at my form -my fluid, controlled movement through life.
I’m embarrassed to say that this is often my self-absorbed view of myself and my life. I am so important, right? Often THE most important.
And Jesus comes like a little baby, so small. Like the Cox’n, his glory is often overlooked. Yet He is the one who can see the course of our lives, as the Cox’n is the only one in the boat with a view of the course. The rowers sit backwards as they power their boats with their long paddles. The Cox’n also has the vital role of controlling the rudder, steering the boat in the proper direction. He encourages the team, lets them know if they are out of synch and where they are in the race, acting as the on-board coach.
My life would probably cruise along much smoother if I let Jesus be my coach. The chances of winning the race would increase greatly if I did. Following his directions also means I stay on the course he sets before me. Jesus helps set the pace of my life, the rhythm. If I need to slow down, he lets me know. If I should act quickly, He has ways of telling me that as well.
The Cox’n is also the link to the “other world,” the world outside the boat. Inside the boat the Cox’n has a radio in which he can use to communicate with other key people on shore. Reminds me of Jesus’ connection to His Father, Our Father, on our behalf. He told the disciples he does nothing unless the Father tells him to. Wow. Think about that. Doing nothing without first consulting someone. Someone other than self. Someone other than Emotion of the Moment. Someone other than Addictive Impulsive Urge. Someone who knows best and wants what is best.
My desire is to let Jesus be my Cox’n. Now if I can only hear his encouragement over the slashing about of my paddles and trust that he knows the course. Trust that while the race is often stressful, being with Jesus on the placid waters is where I want to be.