Below is something from Eugene Peterson, by far my favorite author:
In Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, there is a turbulent scene in which a whaleboat scuds across a frothing ocean in pursuit of the great, white whale, Moby Dick. The sailors are laboring fiercely, every muscle taut, all attention and energy concentrated on the task. The cosmic conflict between good and evil is joined; chaotic sea and demonic sea monster versus the morally outraged man, Captain Ahab. In this boat, however, there is one man who does nothing. He doesn’t hold an oar; he doesn’t perspire; he doesn’t shout. The man is the harpooner, quiet and poised, waiting. And then this sentence: "To insure the greatest efficiency of the dart, the harpooners of this world must start to their feet out of idleness, and not out of toil."
History is a novel of spiritual conflict. The white whale, symbol of evil, and the crippled captain, personification of violated righteousness, are joined in battle. In such a world, noise is inevitable, and immense energy is expended. But if there is no harpooner in the boat, there will be no proper finish to the chase. Or if the harpooner is exhausted, having abandoned his assignment, and become an oarsman, he will not be ready and accurate when it is time to throw his javelin.
Somehow it always seems more compelling to assume the work of the oarsman, laboring mightily in a moral cause, throwing our energy into a fray we know has immortal consequence. There is, though, other important work to do. Someone must throw the dart. Some must be harpooners.
The metaphors Jesus used for the life of ministry are frequently images of the single, the small, and the quiet, which have effects far in excess of their appearance: salt, leaven, seed. Our culture publicizes the opposite emphasis: the big, the multitudinous, the noisy. It is, then, a strategic necessity that people in ministry, especially pastors, ally themselves with the quiet, poised harpooners, and not leap to the oars. There is far more need that we develop the skills of a harpooner than the muscles of the oarsman. It is far more biblical to learn quiet attentiveness before God than to exhaust ourselves in a flurry of activity. (Eugene Peterson, Sermon on Matthew 13:24-30, February 7, 1971, echoed, in part in The Contemplative Pastor and again in Conversations.)