Analogy of the Day: The Wake Left Behind

In the secular world, Andrew Cuomo is masterful at using “analogy.”  Dr. Tony Evans is even better in the world of preaching-teaching.  Evans knows how to build and drive an analogy.

I have been listening to Cuomo for weeks, for the singular purpose of pointing up how effective the use of analogy is in communication.

Nevertheless, here is an example of an analogy that you can build on, bend, cut, expand, reform and/or use it as your —  ( no credit need be attributed, run it through your mental grid and make it yours).


Photo of a powerboat out on the waves  The Power of Analogy

Take the time to read through all the material below,
and see if it doesn’t get you thinking about
building your own analogical illustration.


Let me point you back to a post that lays out the steps for building an analogical illustration.  As has been previously and repeatedly stated, Tony Evans [1] is a master of this, and his book of illustrations reflects that.  Evans understands how to “run with it” and swing it into an analogical illustration.


Step #1) — The easiest way to begin is by taking a metaphorical word, phrase, or “employed-sentence.”   A “metaphorical-employed-sentence” uses a metaphor, but never develops it, never “runs with it.”

I decided to work with the concept of “wake” after reading a “metaphorical-employed-sentence.”   It was an employed  sentence which merely used a metaphor, but never developed it, never ran it out — “This pandemic will leave a lot of changes in its wake.”


Step #2) — This is where the time and work takes place.
Begin Working On The Analogical Illustration: Public address takes time and work.  Part of that work involves learning about different notable people, an event, or a concept.  In this case, it takes some time to learn about and read up on the concept of “wakes.”

I know what a “wake” is, in the sense that the sentence uses the term.  Don’t let that short circuit taking the time to learn more about the concept.

Initially, you may or may not know the meaning-root-core-essence of the metaphor. . . .

“Did they recover the black box”
“You are being used as a pawn in this dispute.”
“Give it a jump-start by announcing it in the meeting today!”
“You need deep-pockets to begin this ministry.”
“They tried to pull it off with the bank, but it was an air-ball”
“The prosecuting attorney stepped out of the legal sidelines.”

. . . . . but begin playing around with the selected “concept” — black box / pawn / jump-start / deep-pockets / air-ball / sidelines.

Whether or not you understand the general meaning of the metaphor — or concept, does not mean that you cannot investigate it further.

It is by further understanding, developing, broadening, and/or elaborating the concept that will provide the fuel for building the analogy.

An example of that is when Tony Evans [1]  calls up a football analogy — when he grabs a hold of the concept of  “sidelines.[2]

While I am sure that Tony Evans understands how the term “sidelines” is used in the game of football, he develops and runs it out to drive the analogy.


In the case of the concept of “wake,” you probably understand that it generally comes from the world of watercraft / boats / ships.


Step #3) Gather Information About Wakes:  After deciding to grab a hold of a concept, event, or personality, begin some broad research about it – dictionary definition / how else is the word “wake” used / are there similarities between its use / read a magazine article on boating & wakes / see if there was an accident involving a wake / what are the physics of a wake / are there other sentences that call up that metaphor / are there pictures of a wake / GOOGLE “wakes” . . . . .


√  There are boating laws that control the use of boats.  One of those laws revolves around the creation of “wakes” — The creation of moving water which is created by the motor’s propeller and pushes away from the boat.


√ An article about boating and wake control . . . .

The Official Boating Handbook of the Washington State Parks

Controlling Your Wake

Wake is the wave a boat generates as it moves through the water. The wake disperses an amount of energy based on the boat’s speed and the amount of water the boat displaces. Producing a large wake near other boats, boating facilities, and personal property is an error in judgment made by many boat operators.

The wake created by a boat may endanger inexperienced boaters, persons swimming, or wading anglers. For example, a boat’s wake may rock, swamp, or capsize other boats. Passengers also may be thrown off balance or overboard, leading to serious injury.

When a boat’s wake causes damage, you could face very serious consequences. Excessive boat wake may be enforced as Negligent Operation, an infraction considered serious enough to warrant a fine of $343. The boat operator also may be held responsible for the damage caused by a boat’s wake and face a civil lawsuit.

      • As you travel, look behind your vessel to check your wake. If it is rocking boats or crashing against the shoreline, you are creating too much wake.
      • Watch out for and be considerate of small vessels such as canoes and kayaks.
      • Slow down before:
        • Meeting and overtaking other boats
        • Entering posted speed zones and narrow channels
      • Leave as much space as possible between your vessel and others that you meet or overtake.


√  The Definition of a “Wake.”

A “WAKE” is defined as . . . .

“the track of waves left by a ship or other object moving through the water: The wake of the boat glowed in the darkness. the path or course of anything that has passed or preceded:  The tornado left ruin in its wake.”


√  Other Information about boating “wakes”

•  A “wake” carries a lot of energy and force as it moves large amounts of water to propel a boat or ship forward.

•  Boaters and ship captains can be held liable for the wake they may create, and for the damage to other boats, people, and/or docks.

•  If that movement of water, that wake, approaches another boat at certain angles, it can change a boat’s stability.  That is why small boaters maneuver their boats into a wake front first, in order to prevent an uncontrollable rocking of their boat to where it begins to take on water.

•  There are “no wake” areas that are typically posted in narrow water channels or around other boat docks.[4]

•  Even when running full power on the open bay, sea, or gulf areas — there is an understood courtesy that is exercised when their wake has the potential of violently rocking another boat.

•  Large cruise ships can create a lot of water movement, above and below the water’s surface, so much that they can even suck another large ship towards them.  [3]

•  Technically, a boat’s “wake” begins at the front of a boat or ship as it cuts through the water, as it displaces water.

•  You can actually buy boats that are designed to create the conditions for great wakesurfing – wakeboarding. [4]

•  Airplanes can also create a wake, but not with water, but with air.  They are also moving a large amount of air on takeoff and in flight.  Therefore, there is a period of time that follows the takeoff of one airplane, before another plane is allowed to take off or land.


√  Grammatical Options: Examine a thesaurus,[6]  and/or go to a related word dictionary [7]


√  Other Mind Generating Thoughts:

– wakeboards
– youtube videos of boats inundated by “wakes” [5]
– the huge displacement of water by large ships
– accidents caused by wakes in port
– boating signs: Go Slow!  / Leave No Wakes” / This Is A No Wake Zone
– This Is A No Wake Zone

√  If you have operated a small boat, you may have seen the signs dotting an area where other small boats operate, or home and dock dot the area — “No Wake Zone.”

√  It is fascinating to sit and watch the cruise ships wake.  Sitting on at the back of a large cruise ship and watch – stare at the ship’s wake.

√  Have you seen the other small boats and docks rock as the wake moves towards and into them?

√ Experienced boaters know how to navigate into a large wake that is approaching them.  They do not allow the wake to rock them from side-to-side, but steer into the wake as it moves towards them.

√ The larger and faster a boat or ship is moving, the greater the wake it produces.


Step #4) Generating Applicational Ideas:  How do God’s people / the world / the wicked / in families / in ministries / in marriage /at work / financially / relationally / emotionally . . . . . . . create “wakes?”

Positional “Wakes:”

The wake you left as . . . .

•  a father
•  a pastor
•  a husband
•  by your family
•  in business
•  through your friendships
•  a ministry leader
•  a team member
•  a boss

Relational “Wakes:”

•  broken relationships
•  a failed marriage
•  a financial disaster – bankruptcy
•  a dysfunctional ministry team
•  broken kids
•  business disasters
• a broken family
• a child-to-parent estrangement
•  between children from different relationships

Emotional “Wakes:”

It could be a wake of

    • Distrust
    • Depression
    • Discouragement
    • Dissatisfaction


Create Applicational Generating Statements:

• What have you left behind because of your actions, the movement of your “boat.”
• It is what happens with leaders and team members.
• The last time they worked for you, you left behind a trail of troubles or damage.
• They are never going to work for you again because of the wake you produced.
• They have not called you because of the wake you left behind.
• Homelife produced some wakes which have alienated parents from children, children from parents, children from children, husbands from wives.
• Your ministry is going south because of the wakes it produces in the lives of those who have lived in its vicinity.
• The staff turnover is happening for a reason — few enjoy the constant emotional wakes, which cause feelings of insecurity, distrust, or doubt.
• Say and think what you want, the wake you produce left behind its damage!


Final Step:  Now that you have a lot of different ideas swirling around in your mind, begin writing it out, build a “Tony Evans” analogical illustration. . . . Here goes — off the cuff — with actual changes as I go . . . . 



If you have been in a small boat or seated at the back of a cruise ship, you have probably been fascinated by the movement of the water moving out from the back of that boat or ship

(Possible Inclusion . . . A cruise ship’s wake is even more beautiful when the moonlight reflects off of it at night.)

It is called the “wake.” — The trail or track of waves left by both the forward movement of that boat, as well as by the motor’s propeller  —  or perhaps even by propellers of those powerful cruise ship motors.



A “wake” — that movement of water — carries with it — an immense amount of energy and force.  The greater the “wake” — the greater the speed — the greater the displacement of water — and the greater the power and energy which is found in that “wake.”

Boating signs and laws, like automobile laws, are designed to regulate those who have little care and concern for others.  There are boaters who have little regard for others on the waterways — who run open, full-throttle ahead.  These selfish boaters disregard the sign and move through a narrow passage of water with no regard for the other boats around them — some struggling now to turn into the wake to avoid sinking — some who do not know how to remain relatively stable!

You may have seen those warnings and signs — “No Wake Zone” — signs which are posted to prevent the churning of the waters which can rock other boats and docks.  It is a “No Wake Zone” because of the narrowness of the waterway. Care and courtesy are part of the understood “laws” of boating.  Boat operators move into an idle speed so as not to so upset other boaters.

Even in bodies of water where wakes are allowed, as boats pass each other, there is a concern that the wake may upset the stability of another boat / boater.  An experienced boater knows how to steer into that wake, lest that wake so rocks his boat from side to side — uncontrollably — and potentially capsizing or even sinking their smaller watercraft nearby or next to them.

The Bible knows about “wakes” — about wakes which have the same power to exert an immense amount of disrupting energy upon the lives of others around them.  The cause is the same — a selfish spirit which causes others who are nearby to experience instability and rocking.  Some do not know how to adjust — how to compensate for the words and actions of those who have little regard for others who are nearby and affected.

But there are selfish family members who disregard the sign — like the wake created by Joseph’s brothers when they announced to their father that their brother was apparently killed by an animal when they had soled him to a caravan headed for Egypt.  Oh, the wake left behind in that lie.  Dad was devasted — for decades!

There are “No Wake Zone” signs posted in all families.  The family was not designed to shake the stability of its members.  Care, concern, and courtesy are part of the understood principles which guide family life.  Family members should not have to steer into the wake for stability.  Each family member should know how to move into an idle speed when it comes to life and living in the narrow waterways of family life.

There are wakes that capsize marriages.  Marriage is designed to be a “No Wake Zone.”  But husbands can just plow thoughtlessly through what started out as clam waters and destabilize his spouse with reckless words.  Those words can linger for years — leaving a wake of uncertainty. . . . .




Playing around with the analogy:  There will be a number of various ways to drive the analogy — but be careful that you do not get too far into the attractive rhetorical weeds of the analogy.  Better to stop earlier than later.  It is possible to make the analogical illustration overtake one’s thinking and the message . . . .

A moonlit wake on a cruise ship may be beautiful, but there is nothing beautiful about a wake at nighttime — during the already difficult and dark days of life and living.  The Bible knows about wakes during dark days — Joseph knew about it when in Potipher’s house — Joseph was already



Links & Other Facts:

1.  Tony Evans Commencement Message:

2.  Tony Evans using a football concept — “sideline” or “boundaries.”

In football, there are sidelines and goal lines.

Those are sovereign boundaries;

they do not move.

You can’t negotiate them, and

you can’t make them wider or narrower.

They are fixed standards by which the game of football is played and

they’re non-negotiable.

If you step on the side lines, you’re out of bounds.

But within the boundaries, you are free to call your own play. You can call a bad play and lose yardage. You can call a good play and make yardage.

You are free to call the play, but the play has to be within the lines.

In other words, the sovereign boundaries of football restrict how free you are without denying your ability to be free.

— Tony Evans, The Detours of Providence

Then Evans then drives that analogical illustration . . . .

God is sovereign. He has created boundaries, but He’s also created freedom. That freedom allows you to make a good play or a bad play—to be right or wrong. Just don’t cross the boundaries.

— Tony Evans , The Detours of Providence


3. Titanic & The New Yorker:

“At exactly 12:00 PM, six tugboats pulled the massive Titanic into the river Test, towards the wider water of the river Itchen and into the English Channel, east of the island of Wight. It was way too soon when Captain Smith ordered the first tugs to let go and accelerate Titanic‘s own engines, increasing speed but also increasing the suction at the stern.

Titanic‘s speed was already 6 knots when she passed the New York and the Oceanic who were tied together. At that moment, Smith reversed the port propeller to ease the left turn. The suction was way too much for the much smaller New York. With a series of ear-splitting bangs, the six heavy hawsers gave away and she started to drift off to the Titanic. Also the Oceanic started to lean sharply and her gangplank smacked into the water, but most of her hawsers held on.

There was little the crew of the New York could do: their ship had been stranded in Southampton due to a coal strike and it wasn’t under steam. However, Captain Gale of the tugboat Vulcan immediately noticed the danger. Titanic‘s Third Officer Pitman, on the aft bridge, had used a megaphone to get the Vulcan to Titanic‘s port side to pick up some crew members still on board. This put Gale in a perfect position to offer help. He acted quickly and threw a line to the New York and managed to sufficiently slow down her drift under full steam and lots of smoke from the funnel. Pitman was already calling the bridge, if they knew that another ship was drifting to Titanic quickly. But they already knew it, because at the same moment the port engine restarted and the waves it created slowed the New York down.

Another tugboat assisted the Vulcan and only now the New York was under control. It was only a matter of inches or a collision would have been a fact, and the danger wasn’t over at this point. The New York was now pulled between the Oceanic and the Titanic towards the Itchen, with barely any room on either side.”


4. link:


5. Setting up your boat for wake surfing:

“Wakesurfing has taken watersports by storm and is quickly growing into one of the most exciting and challenging sports behind a boat. Originally conceived by surfers in the early 60s and 70s, many people thought they could simply ride a surfboard behind a boat. It wasn’t until the last decade that boat and board designs have allowed the progression of wakesurfing to reach new heights. Tow boat manufacturers are now designing boats specifically for wakesurfing. Regardless of what you’re driving, it’s important to setup your boat properly for wakesurfing.”

How to Weight Your Boat for Wakesurfing

The first thing to understand about building the perfect wake is how the wake is produced in the first place. A wake is created as the boat moves through the water; the boat’s hull displaces water, and the water returns to where it previously was. This constant flow of water creates an “endless” wave moving in the direction of the boat. The general rule of thumb is more weight in the front of the boat creates a shorter wake in height but a longer wake in length, and vice versa if there is more weight in the back. When you’re wakesurfing, only one side of the wake is being surfed. To increase the wake’s size on either side of the boat, you need to increase the amount of weight on that side of the boat.




6.  Thesaurus: 

Screen Shot 2020-03-29 at 10.12.07 AM.png


7.  Dictionary Of Related Words:   “Dictionary of Related Words

group velocity
wake island




[1] [2] [3] [4]


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