Steel Rudders

What’s the most important part of a boat? Ask 100 mariners and you’ll hear a combination of the helm and rudder; both used to steer the vessel. I’d venture to say that everyone reading this could identify a rudder on a boat especially if you grew up in the south. It’s the vertical, blade-like appendage mounted either on the boat’s stern or below the water’s surface designed to guide the boat. Usually made of steel so as not to bend; the rudder pushes against the water to force the boat in the proper direction. Without the rudder, you will either end up where you don’t want to be or worse shipwrecked.

Men, the winds of this world are strong. Our Godless society will push you into dangerous waters and if you don’t have a strong rudder, you will drift aimlessly on the sea of life. Let this verse from Ephesians 4:13-14 sink in – “that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.

No man wants to be battered and bludgeoned by the waves of life. No man wants to waste time in a boat aimlessly drifting at sea. None of us want to be stranded or shipwrecked. We want a strong rudder and the ability to face any storm. So how can we be assured that our rudder is strong and effective?

There’s a manual to all things in this life (spiritual, personal, emotional, professional) that was given to us by the Creator of the world. God not only gave us this manual but assured that it was effective by testing it on His Son. If you’ve never read the first 4 books of the New Testament, Jesus lived out this manual perfectly. So, I’m not saying it’s easy to follow but it works and it’ll keep you straight in the roughest of waters. Read this manual, abide in this Word, and seek to live by it. Don’t waste time being tossed to and fro! Put your hand on the tiller and trust that the rudder (God’s Word) will do its job and guide you to safe passage.

“Don’t read the manual. Dismiss the Bible. It’s not worthwhile”. That’s the message our culture is preaching. God’s Word is clear – believe those lies and you’ll end up shipwrecked (1 Timothy 1:18-19). If you continue to stiff-arm His Word, not only will your rudder become damaged but you’ll miss out on the map that leads to ultimate peace and prosperity (John 16:13, Hebrews 11:6). Gentleman, Read the manual (RTM).

Imagine taking your car or truck to a mechanic who knew nothing about engines. He never opened a hood and never read a motor manual.  It’s not going to end well! I’m not taking my truck to a mechanic that doesn’t know what he’s doing.

The truth about how an engine works or a rudder steers begins with concrete facts and then becomes experiential when properly exercised.  Absolute truth is our rudder for life. If we don’t retain the Word of God and welcome a relationship with His Son then we as men will be aimless drifters as the culture continues to infiltrate our schools, families, and Country.

Last week I met a great guy at an RTM group. He shared that he doesn’t read the Bible because he doesn’t believe in religion. As a school teacher, he’s being pummeled by cultural waves of falsehood and wickedness which will end up leading to a shipwreck (Romans 1:18-20). He’s headed toward destructive and needs a course correction.

Let me leave you with this quote – “If I sit next to a madman as he drives a car into a group of innocent bystanders, I can’t, as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe, then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).”

Men, grab the wheel. Be a man. Be active and proactive. Let’s keep the crazies of the road and the waterways. Let’s build a fleet of strong ships, all headed in the right direction. Vessels with rudders made of steel not aluminum. I want to leave the world a better place for my daughters and that requires me to always operate in truth and call other men to action. Consider this your call.

Stephen L. Thomas, RTM