Ancient triremes had three banks of oarsmen to provide the necessary propulsion. The lowest tier was called “the under-rowers”. They could but rowed their rhythmic strokes at the drum-beat of the director above. To use the Greek word, they were hygerétés – under-rowers. – Paul uses this word in 1 Corinthians 4:1, when he speaks of Apollos and himself as “ministers of Christ”.
What a vivid term for Christian service. As under-rowers we receive our directions from above, and pull our spiritual oars together at our Captain’s command. We cannot always understand the way we are going, but we trust our Pilot and give our strength and attention to His will.
It may seem undignified so to serve, but our trust is in our Lord and Master. We are ready to serve Him whether seen or unseen, whether regarded or disregarded by men. And it is our confidence in our heavenly Guide that enables us to bend our strength to the progress of God’s-“Ship of State” – His Church on earth.