In First Corinthians 4:1 the Apostle Paul calls himself a "minister". The word he uses is a Greek word that means "under rower". You have seen the Roman galley ships. They are the ones with the oars sticking out of the sides. Inside the ship, hundreds of slaves sat attached to those oars by chains. This is the picture that Paul was giving of himself, and his outlook in ministry.
As we think about an under rower we quickly realize a few things:
- The under rower had to put in the effort. His job was to row.
- The under rower was chained to his place. He had no choice but to be faithful.
- The under rower had no say in the direction or the destination of the ship. That was up to the captain.
- The under rower only saw what was outside of the hole through which his oar went. He could not see the big picture.
- The under rower had to work in unison with the other slaves. Cooperation was essential.
Today, your place in ministry is likely not in the glamorous spotlight. You can identify with Paul and his description of himself as an "under rower". The important part is simply knowing that you are where God wants you to be and doing what He wants you to do.