” . . . the skipper is Christ. He’s on deck. He deserves all the glory and praise. We serve below deck — keeping the work moving forward by faithfully rowing and diligently serving.”- Charles Swindoll
“So look at Apollos and me (Paul) as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries. Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.”- 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (NLT)
In Chapter 3 (“What If . . . A Longtime Friend Betrays You?”) of What If . . . God Has Other Plans?, Charles Swindoll talks about how to apply God’s Word when someone has broken your trust. Certainly, Pastor Swindoll observes, few disappointments sting more than a trusted friend’s deliberate betrayal. Furthermore, it’s both shocking and heartbreaking. So, later in this chapter, we meet Gehazi, a servant of the prophet Elisha. Because one day he replaced diligence to Elisha with deceit.
However, Pastor Swindoll notes, in 1 Corinthians 4 the apostle Paul made an important observation that we tend to forget. That faithful slaves and servants make up the life-flow of ministry. In fact, Charles adds, the word translated servants is often rendered slaves. Also, the Greek word, huperetes, combines two terms; hupo (under) and eretes (rower). Hence, this first-century references describes slaves who labored hard against the waves. And, they labored below deck, rowing in unison.
Pastor Swindoll explains this in greater detail:
“These ‘under-rowers’ were accustomed to serving below deck, without applause or recognition. As slaves, they were compelled to labor. When this concept is applied to the Christian life, a faithful servant or steward of the gospel is compelled as a slave of Christ to serve diligently, expecting no recognition, and to stay at it.”
Finally, the Greek word for steward, oikonomos, literally means ‘household manager.’ This person, also most likely a slave, assisted in the day-to-day activities of the owner’s house.
Today’s question: When do you find it tempting to act as the skipper on deck? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “We’re all housekeepers and under-rowers”