Remember my big surprise? Tickets for lunch and a sightseeing tour down the mighty Ohio River aboard the paddle-wheel steamer, Belle of Louisville! It was a perfect-weather, blue-sky, day, and I had a wonderful time wandering around the boat, standing in the breeze and watching the water, the people, the sky… Trying to imagine what it must have been like in 1914 when it first sailed. This October will mark its 100th birthday!!
But, it got me thinking (you knew it would!) About boats and life. Fore and Aft. Rudders and paddle wheels. Guidance and power. Both on the boat and in life, we need a fore and aft… A front and back. We need a rudder to steer us in the right direction, but at the same time we must have a paddle wheel pushing us forward. If The Holy Spirit is guiding me in a particular direction, but I have no paddle wheel of power pushing me there, then I’m not accomplishing God’s will for my life. I’m sitting still, dead in the water, unable to move forward or backward!
On the other hand I can have all the power of that great paddle wheel, churning through the water, pushing me forward, and run myself aground in a heartbeat without a rudder. Without the Holy Spirit to guide me, without God’s word pointing me in the right direction, without Jesus Christ as my compass then all that power is useless. It just pushes me toward rocks of discontent, muddy and miry banks of disobedience, and over the falls of selfishness and pride right into… ME. Myself. I. Me-ism. The whole “what about me” mindset that I struggle so hard to overcome.
I love the feel of the breeze on my face and in my hair and the sound of the paddle wheel churning through the water. I love the big sound of the ship’s horn and the smell of the water in the breeze and popcorn from the concession stand. And as Paul stated so perfectly in Philippians 3:13-14…
forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Full steam ahead!!