Canoe Trips

Three friends went on a canoe trip. It was a beautiful summer day and the river height was perfect.  The ripples of the water and the current slapping the banks was soothing and added to the wonderful views of wildlife and nature surrounding the three friends and their adventure.  

As the day progressed, Bob, who was sitting in the center of the canoe, was getting tired and paddled less and less and finally just left his paddle in the water in fear that Joe, who was in the front of the canoe, and Bill, who was in the rear of the canoe, would notice that Bob was no longer contributing to the progress of the canoe.

In fact, he was beginning to be a drag.  

At some point Joe noticed that Bob was no longer paddling and decided to paddle with a little more vigor and strength. This in turn sparked Bill to paddle harder as well to keep up with Joe. Bob was smiling because in essence he was enjoying the free ride.

Joe and Bill had the natural response of many leaders—work harder and give more effort, maybe Bob will notice and feel bad for not paddling and begin paddling again.  At this point of the journey it gets very interesting; I believe the principle of alignment is absolutely key. Instead of paddling with more vigor and working harder, what if we made our way to the river bank safely and ask Bob to step out and join the next canoe coming down the river? We could reduce drag, go back to our normal paddling routine, and actually go faster and farther without Bob. Alignment is absolutely crucial in executing the vision that God has entrusted us with.  I would encourage each one of us to ask these questions:

  • Am I aligning with the vision where I am currently giving my time? Am I a Bob?
  • Are there any Bobs on our teams, those who are not aligning with the vision?
  • Have I been clear with communicating the vision?

“Where there is no vision, the people perish. . .”  Proverbs 29:18


Wes Miller