Rowing In Circles



No member of a crew is praised for the rugged individuality of his rowing. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imagine you are in a boat with eleven other people. There are no sails and no motor, but each of you has an oar and this boat needs to move. What would you do? Well, hopefully someone would suggest that six of you put hang your oars off the port side and six to the starboard side.

Q. What would happen if the six strongest rowers were all on the same side?
A. Your boat would eventually make a circle.

Q. What would happen if all twelve of you were on the same side?
A. Your boat would make a circle very quickly.

People sometimes have a tendency to surround themselves with like-minded people. This can facilitate decision-making but the oars can all very quickly gravitate to one side. Your team will make powerful strokes together but you won't get very far!

The great coach John Wooden from UCLA used to say, "never mistake activity for achievement." So while it might feel good getting things checked off the ol' To Do List, we need to be sure that we're working toward the right goal. Your boat might make it to shore but the only one "on board" might be you! Preemptive prayer is a great way to avoid misadventures like this.

The Body of Christ is made up of different people doing different things differently. And when it's all done to God's! What an amazing voyage. Paul tells us the secret when he says, "keep yourself united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace" (Eph 4:3). We won't always agree, but praise the Lord that we're not all the same! Working together we can make a Kingdom difference.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, give me the strength to embrace the differences of others as we strive to be united in the spirit. It's not about me today, it's about You. Take me, use me, give me an oar and I will row to your glory, not caring where I land. Amen.


Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.
--Ephesians 4:2-6 (NLT)


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There are 6 comments

Kent, Thank you for reminding me of our differences - yours, mine, and our congregation's. And that we are all united in the Spirit of Chirst. God bless and you and your family have a joyous, glorious Easter. Claire

Claire Lincoln
April 16, 2011 - 13:30

Kent, your devotionals are meaningful to me and I keep praying that the Lord will fill you with more to come! God bless, Claire

Claire Lincoln
March 20, 2011 - 10:35
Reply to Claire Lincoln

Thanks Claire--and praise God! I don't do them on any kind of schedule...just when something really makes an impression on me. I love the flexibility I have here at HCOB to do that! Thanks for reading!

March 22, 2011 - 04:47

As someone who rows only from the front of the canoe (giving power but has no clue how to steer ) I can relate to the imagery of your devotional, Kent. A great reminder to work together as a church team for God's glory.

March 18, 2011 - 06:05
Reply to Deb

Deb, you have certainly been a part of many "crews" here at HCOB and we thank you for all you do to God's glory!

March 22, 2011 - 04:49

Another good one, Pastor Kent! I really like your preemptive prayer at the end. Wow. That's good!

Saw this funny comic earlier today - reminds me of rowing (or going) in circles.

March 17, 2011 - 14:05
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