Tug Boats and Oil Tankers

Tug Boats and Oil Tankers

My husband and I drove to the end of the Texas City dike Saturday, hoping to see some dolphins jumping and pelicans diving for fish. We saw neither, but what we did see greatly impressed me. For perhaps 30 minutes we watched a very large tug boat pushing an unusually long barge. I guessed the tug was either ocean-going or had made the trip down the inter-coastal waterway, probably going most of the way from Florida to south Texas along that route. Since we often go to the dike and also frequently go to Galveston and sometimes ride the ferry that goes four miles across to Bolivar Peninsular, I’m used to seeing tugs pushing barges, but I’ve never seen one so large or a group of barges so long.

The second sight that intrigued me was an oil tanker, most likely going to the Houston ship channel. From our vantage point at the end of the dike, you could see the channels going both ways. Because of its high waterline, we knew the tanker was empty, so it was almost certainly going to be filled. Tankers are not unusual sights in this area either, but what caught my attention was how fast it was going compared to the tug – like seeing a car going 70 mph versus one going 30. While the tug was still making its slow way towards Galveston even when we left, the tanker came into view some time after we arrived and had made the bend quickly where we could no long see it from our parking place.

I thought of how God sometimes uses people. Some spend their whole lives serving Him and have great ministries, but they keep plodding away at them, taking years to build whatever it is God has for them to do. Other people come to have a relationship with Father God through our Lord Jesus Christ and seem very quickly to become known in a ministry that is equally important. Think of Billy Graham and Chuck Colson. Both are great servants of God, doing important work, but Dr. Graham spent his whole life serving the Lord, whereas Mr. Colson was converted when imprisoned near middle-age. That’s the way I thought of the huge tug and the tanker.

Leaving the end of the five-mile long dike and heading back towards Texas City and then home, we saw a much smaller tug pushing perhaps 5 barges. This tug was smaller than usual, so I figured it must not get out into the main part of Galveston Bay where waters can become quite rough. Probably it simply went from Texas City to Galveston, doing its job in the calmer waters. This tug was maybe a fourth or a fifth the size of the huge one. However, it was doing its job just as well; also, that job was just as important as the part the larger tug and the tanker played. Each was designed for their specific purpose.

So it is with God’s children. When we yield ourselves to Him, He sets us in the place He has already designed us to fill. I’m much more like the small tug than either of the others, but I can be happy because I’m doing what God has called me to do. The same can be true for each one of you. If we are fulfilling our God-given purpose, then it really doesn’t matter what size tug we are or even if we’re a tanker. Let’s just check to be sure each one of us is doing what our loving Father created us to do.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)