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Lay Down your Oars

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

"He who seeks his life will lose it; and he who loses his life for my sake will find it."


(Matthew 10:39 WEB)



In the years when I was unwrapping the call I felt upon my life, I had the opportunity to discuss my journey with a Vicar leading a Christian retreat. As we explored my path and what I felt the Lord was revealing to me, he chose to guide me from the legacy of St Columba.

St Columba is the Irish Saint who followed God's call to launch into his rowing boat and throw away the oars; letting the currents lead him where they will. The 'currents' (God at work) took him from Ireland to the Scottish Hebridean island of Iona, where he established a monastery and built a faith community from which the whole of Scotland was evangelised. This is a powerful legacy! The work of Iona continues today and Christian Scotland ripples on, most notably through the waves of Scottish missionaries who faithfully took the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Think of David Livingstone or Eric Liddell to name but two. This is the legacy of Columba's surrender and trust. Some months after my retreat, I took this lesson to a church quiet day where I asked attendees to ponder St Columba's story. As part of our time of learning and reflection, we considered if there were oars in our own lives, areas which God might be asking us to lay down in order to deliver a higher plan. As I prayed for myself, God showed me that he needed me to surrender my "timescales"; those personal deadlines by which I wished matters achieved. So, I wrote the word "timescale" on a makeshift oar and cast it into our symbolic sea, a commitment to let go and let God.

What are your oars? What do you hold onto so tightly, not realising it is your very grip that prevents God from working, the grip that blocks your breakthrough? Your five-year plan for your life? Or maybe it's your children - so important to you that you won't leave space for God to work in their lives? Or your finances? Or what about the wounds of your past that you dare not face and prefer to bury, but which only find healing and liberation when confronted and placed in his hands?

To really grow, we must allow God to access all areas and we must value him and following him more than what we treasure or fear. Jesus assures us that: "he who seeks his life will lose it; and he who loses his life for my sake will find it".


Columba allowed God to row his boat and founded a mission station with enduring impact. Like him, be humble and willing to trust God. Place your oars before him and lay them down. Who knows what legacy might flow?




Copyright © Sharmila Meadows 2022


The World English Bible (WEB) is a Public Domain (no copyright) Modern English translation of the Holy Bible.

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Dear Readers, thanks for visiting The Mission Post. Does St Columba's story comfort or challenge you? Does the thought of laying down your oars inspire or rattle you? How does it shape your approach to faith? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thank you!

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