Thursday, January 8, 2015

A tug boat sighting

I took a walk down by the bay this morning and saw this. I love tugboats. I love how they sit low in the water and don't have much beauty to them. But oh, the strength, oh, what they can do. Push and pull and move rigs a hundred times larger and more glamorous than themselves. This little tug was shoving a barge in a circle in our fog-covered bay (usually islands covered with evergreens would be the backdrop to this water scene). The only engine was on the tug but it moved that barge around as though it was made of balsa wood rather than heavy steel (or whatever such barges are made of). Without even the huffing and puffing of nursery rhymes, it was just going to its work.

I needed this simple picture this morning. I needed the reminder that sometimes it's the unlovely and low-to-the-ground work we do that is the strongest. What looks humble and lowly shames the great and glamorous, Paul might say, if he was talking about tug boats. When he talked about our lives, he said something like it, didn't he? God uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, Paul tells the Corinthians. He uses the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

This is important because I live with a man who was once very strong. He was a giant among his peers in almost every way you can imagine. He had success in athletics, in his profession, in his personal life. But somehow seeing him now when he's weaker than he's ever been makes me think of that tugboat. Grampie's life has been reduced to simple things. And it pushes Beve and me--who are strong and more 'glamorous' than he is now--around and around and around.

But it isn't just that the tug is a good metaphor in my life. I think it's useful to consider what small thing or lowly thing or weak thing God uses in each of our lives to make us like Him. Or perhaps YOU are the tug. Perhaps your weakness is being using to move people around you into position to meet and serve the Kingdom. No matter what, it's thought-provoking to consider how the foolish/small/ugly/weak is shaming/moving/changing the wise/large/beautiful/strong in our lives.

Yes, the lowly tug, the strongest little boat in the fleet.

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