The Sail or the Oar

DSC_4394Using the wind and current, working smarter instead of harder

Thought is the wind and knowledge the sail. David Hare

Learning is like rowing upstream; not to advance is to drop back. Chinese Proverb

Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination. Fitzhugh Dodson  

It can take great strength to row a boat against the current. Sometimes it is better and easier to find a better way to do something, to work smarter instead of harder. We often struggle against the currents of life and wonder why it is so difficult. Often it seems we spend as much time going backwards as going forward? Learning to use a little wisdom instead of brute strength can make life’s struggles more manageable.

Life is a journey that requires traveling from one port to another. Consider the row boat versus the sail boat. We can choose between using the oar or the sail to get us there. Our choice makes a great difference in the nature of our journey.  A row boat is the easier of the two to learn to use. After some basic training and a little experience, most anyone can learn to row a boat. It must be pulled into the surf and is physically demanding just to get started. We must fight against the surf, using our strength to overcome the waves and to get past the surf. At last we succeed and get underway. We must grip the oars, put our back into the effort, and start rowing. Depending upon the wind and the current, the effort required may be quite back-breaking. If we must row against both the wind and the current, it requires everything we have to go forward. This never changes, it takes continuous hard work to control our circumstances; row, row and keep on rowing. If we stop, we will likely go backwards. Progress will be slow, hard and always most difficult.

A better choice is using the sail. Its learning curve is considerably more difficult. It will be just as difficult to get off the beach and past the surf. Once we are underway, it makes the effort worthwhile. We have acquired the wisdom and knowledge that equips us for a better mode of travel. It is a matter of raising the sail, talking control of the rudder and steering. We have learned to allow the wind and current to take us where we want to go. Using wind and the rudder to control our direction makes all the difference. We have learned to use our wisdom to harness the forces of nature, working for us instead of against us. This is working smarter instead of harder.

Challenge: The analogy of the oar versus a sail is worthy of consideration. Life is difficult enough. It does not have to be any more difficult than it is. It is worthy of your time, effort and dedication to learning, growing and developing the potential you have within. As you do this, you will grow smarter and wiser. Your increasing wisdom will teach you ways to work smarter and less hard, providing more successes and fewer setbacks.

Wisdom: If we are strong, and have faith in life and its richness of surprises, and hold the rudder steadily in our hands. I am sure we will sail into quiet and pleasant waters for our old age. Freya Stark  

Spiritual: (NIV)

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. Isaiah 32:17

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36                                                                                                

If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1;5

The spiritual analogy between the oar and the sail is living secularly versus living spiritually. When we try to live life only in our own strength, we will always be doing things the hard way, or rowing instead of sailing. We were made to interact with God. When we try to take on life without Him, we are greatly underpowered. When we are powered by the God’s Holy Spirit, we can increasingly find ourselves sailing instead of rowing.

Prayer: Help me to hoist my sail by allowing You to enable, empower and guide me through the waters of life.




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