It Matters If You Win, Too


It’s not just about me.
It’s not just about you.

It has to matter to us that it’s also about others.

It’s a God-concept.

And it’s also what I’m hearing in The Boys in the Boat as I read through. It’s the story of the nine boys-to-men from the University of Washington as they entered the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Listen to author Daniel James Brown:

“What mattered more than how hard a man rowed was how well everything he did in the boat harmonized with what the other fellows were doing. And a man couldn’t harmonize with his crewmates unless he opened his heart to them. He had to care about his crew. It wasn’t just the rowing but his crewmates that he had to give himself up to, even if it meant getting his feelings hurt.

Pocock paused and looked up at Joe. ‘If you don’t like some fellow in the boat, Joe, you have to learn to like him. It has to matter to you whether he wins the race, not just whether you do.’”

Isn’t this true for Jesus-followers?

If we don’t like some fellow disciple in the boat, we have to learn to like them anyway, enough to care about their well-being, their journey, their heart.

It has to matter to us whether others win the race, not just whether we do.

It’s what Jesus does for us. It’s what he asks us to do for others.

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
John 13:34-35

We have to care about our crew.

* * *

Are there people in your boat that get on your nerves? How do you handle it? Please share in the comments.

18 thoughts on “It Matters If You Win, Too

  1. bluecottonmemory

    This is so good! I’m getting this book for my boys for a summer read! (Me, too). We’ve been having this discussion at home, in the car – but it just wasn’t resonating. This resonates! Shalom, Lisa!

  2. Beth

    I have found that to be so true in life–and not just like someone but “love” them with the love of Jesus. That’s a task I am trying to do with someone in my life that I’ve been hurt by repeatedly–love them like Christ loves them. Thanks so much, Lisa for this very profound and inspiring post. Sound like a great book too! 😉

  3. Sharon

    Love this, Lisa. Yes, there are a few people *in my boat* who irritate me beyond belief at times (not that I ever irritate them…ahem). But I can also see how the enemy tries to fan the flame of discord between us. It’s all too easy to get angry, and then to let that fester into bitterness. I’m working on keeping short accounts instead of having a short temper.


    (Read a review of that book. It sounds wonderful. Did you ever read “Unbroken”?)

  4. Barbara H.

    Very good analogy. One thing that helps me with irritations with others is to pray for them. That helps me concentrate on God’s best for them and not just my own preferences. And to remember that somebody probably looks at me as an irritant also. If someone did and I knew that, I’d want them to take time to understand where I am coming from – so I try, or at least try to remind myself, to do the same for them.

    I’ve heard good things about this book but haven’t explored it yet.

  5. June

    Pray. Pray hard! That’s what I do. For some reason God always seems to stick me with those people whose personalities I have no idea how to deal with, lol! People who are totally opposite from me in every way and I have no idea how to respond to them, on so many levels! You know, the difficult one, the loud one, the grumpy one, the negative one, etc. Often, I’ve found myself in situations where I have to minister to these people. “Really, Lord? It’s hard enough just talking to people, let alone people I can’t relate to!” But He always provides, the will and the words! I’ve heard about this book – sounds interesting! Thanks for sharing, Lisa! Your posts are always so inspiring! Blessings.

  6. Jean Wise

    Wow this is such a great lesson and powerful image. When I am having difficulty for someone I ‘force” myself to pray but the quote from the book widens and deepens that perspective.: ‘If you don’t like some fellow in the boat, Joe, you have to learn to like him. It has to matter to you whether he wins the race, not just whether you do.’” I really need to pay attention to this. Thanks, Lisa. I am feeling God’s nudge in these words today

  7. floyd

    Well this is an amazing post, Lisa. When it’s all about us, even when we win, we lose. And when it’s about everyone with us, we win, even when the world thinks we lost. Winning isn’t measured in a number, it’s measured across a lifetime.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  8. Lori Schumaker

    What an eye opening comparison! It’s not all about us being the best at what we do, it’s about how we use that strength in harmony with others around us. How much we care about those around us. Something very counter cultural!

    Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your hope-filled insights with us at Moments of Hope. I always look forward to reading your work!! Keep shining that light of hope!

    Blessings and smiles,

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The crew in this book really did show how we all depend on each other in more ways than we realize (or sometimes even want to!). I hope this book will be on the big screen soon because the underlying story of caring about others is definitely one that inspires us all. Thanks, Lori.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      We are such an individualistic culture that I love hearing stories of “harmonizing together.” Working as a team brings us such joy and propels us much further than we can ever go on our own. Have a blessed weekend, Kelly!

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