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Row the Boat

Read This Week: 1 Corinthians 4

This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
– 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 NIV

“Keep rowing!” This was a rallying cry issued to men in the galleys of ships so they wouldn’t give up on their job. It was a motivational tool for rowers to keep paddling no matter what happened or how exhausted they felt. They were not to look at the circumstances or the other people but remain faithful to the goal of moving the boat forward successfully.

This a great principle for the Christian life and one Paul evokes in 1 Corinthians 4. When he refers to himself and Apollos as “servants of Christ” he uses the word servant which means under-rower or a subordinate rower. He wants to make it clear to the people of Corinth who have become arrogant that they aren’t in charge of the ship. They are merely called to row the boat at the instruction of their captain, Jesus. According to Paul, Christians have the role of servants and faithful rowers of the master’s ship, not the operation of it.

If we will simply take the position of a faithful servant as outlined in chapter 4, it will eliminate the constant, unhealthy pursuit of personal agendas that can greatly hamper our effectiveness for God and His work. Our agenda isn’t always God’s so it’s better to be submissive to his leading instead of allowing our selfish, misguided ambitions to hurt the gospel ministry and damage other people. Paul writes in verse 5 that God “will expose the motives of the heart” so we must be sure that our attitudes and motivations are Christ-centered and service-oriented.

God, by His grace and good pleasure, has given us the privilege of serving Him and being His ambassadors on earth. We have the honor of sitting in the galley of His ship and rowing it toward his kingdom purposes. He merely calls on us to trust Him, obey His word and stay faithful to His truth no matter what life brings. We keep rowing on His command.

Paul concludes this chapter with the statement, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” In essence, he is challenging the Corinthian church and us to stop talking about what we know and be faithful to what God has already said. When it comes to life, leadership, relationships, and parenting, we are simply to take our directions from the captain and row the boat.


  1. Ken on November 20, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    As we all know, there are many distractions in the world. There are issues and people that can get you off track. It’s so important to keep your eye on the ball, focus on God and your assignments with Him. Be the hope for others and a good mentor.

    I know for me, it always seems like something or someone is trying to take my focus off God and His plans for the moment and day. I have come to acknowledge that to truly succeed, you have to stay focused on God and stay on track with his plans and purposes for your life.

    I have a place of fulfillment with God that the world does not have, nor can it offer. So, I’d like to encourage you to do life with God. Take the adventure, receive the gifts and benefits He has for you. It will truly lead to a life of significance and success in Christ.

    • Jason on November 22, 2019 at 10:37 am

      This is such a relevant and needed encouragement, Ken. I once had a spiritual mentor tell me that, “The enemy doesn’t have to destroy you, He just has to distract you.” I have found this to be true just as you outlined in your post. If we become distracted and get our eyes off of God for long enough, we will drift off of the path and purpose He has for us. It can be subtle or immediate and can lead to negative things for our lives.

      May we all stay focused on God and realize as you said that we have a place of fulfillment with God that the world does not have, nor can it offer. There is nothing like Him in this world that should demand our attention or guide our lives.

  2. Heidi on November 23, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Thank you, Jason, for sharing! That was awesome!

    Jesus was so faithful to the Father while He was here on earth. He is the best example of a great servant. He looked out for others, especially for those who love God. He knew His mission and why He was here. While He was on the way to the cross, no matter what people were saying or doing, He kept His eyes on why He was here.

    He didn’t let the people who were against Him get Him distracted. He knew He was faithful and what His mission was. He continues to look for people who will join Him to help those who want to join His team, desire to learn how to be a faithful servant. To look out for those who are ready to join the Family of God and to keep going, rowing in His boat, learn to be the best follower because we want to, we desire to be the best ministering servant for the kingdom of God!

    I hope you say yes today to God because He loves you!

  3. Jeri Centers on November 23, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    I got mine from 1 corinthians 4 verse 1
    God is saying to you and me.
    I Am the truth, abide in my will.
    Labor in me keep pressing on my Servant do it in my Peace and keep still.
    I give you Strength to do my work and reach out to others and also lead others to a spiritual Life, keep on doing good my Servant.
    What that means to me.
    To always Listen to God’s instructions when He says help others to Know Him better, And always be a good steward.

  4. Sam Centers on November 23, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    God drew me to verse 2. And he was saying to me “I give you the tools to go out and share me with others. But it is up to you to show them that you are a true man of God. And a trustworthy Stewart of mine. And they will respond more to you knowing they can truly trust that you have there best interest at heart.”
    And what that means to me.
    We have to carry ourselfs as he does in order to show others around us that we are true and trusted men of God

  5. Alma on November 23, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    i got a song from God this week

    We are children of the Lord of the Lord we are children of the Lord
    singing praising singing praising we are children of the Lord
    we are his children Learning trusting having faith learning trusting
    having Faith we are children of the lord.

    When we have God in our life and trust him with all things
    it will work out to our advantage . love you God

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