Everyone on a team is important. It’s the time of year when college basketball fans are watching their favorite teams. In I Corinthians 16:9 demonstrates the relationship between great adversities and great opportunities, and, in a great basketball program, a coach has to mold a group of diverse individuals into a cohesive team. Things may be difficult, but the end result is stronger for the trials. In our congregations, it all boils down to our people and our service to God. There are four action steps we can take to be a better team of Christians.
Four Qualities of a Good Team Member
- We must have a team concept. We cannot think as individuals. We cannot all want the same role. We have different abilities and talents, and we all have something to contribute. Ephesians 4:11 speaks of different gifts and abilities that serve to build up Christ’s body and bring unity. Our working together in love edifies our body. I Corinthians 12:12 demonstrates the importance of each individual in the group through the importance of our diverse bodily organs. Even those parts that seem weak are important, and the whole body comes together in sympathy or joy with those members who are hurting or rejoicing. Matthew 25:14 records that parable of the servants who each have resources to invest. A difference in resources is no excuse for a lack of participation. We all have work to do.
- We must work all season and for the entire game. In I Corinthians 9:24, Paul encourages us to run our race with the prize in our minds. It takes self-control, dedication, and commitment to see our work through to the end. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to have endurance to reach the conclusion Christ has authored for us. In Luke 9:62, Jesus says we cannot look back after putting our mind to His work. We have to focus ahead on our next opportunity to complete God’s mission.
- We must compete legally. We have to follow God’s rules for the game. In II Timothy 2:5, Paul reinforces this point. Perhaps in secular sports, we can get away with breaking the rules, but this is impossible with God. II John 9 warns us against going beyond the teachings of God’s word. The gray areas that can exist in sports rule-books, but no shades of gray exist in God’s law. Revelation 22:18-19 warns against adding or subtracting from His prophecies. God’s word is final, and we have to abide in it.
- We have to take responsibilities. We can’t make excuses for our lack of resources or for other circumstances stacked against us. Peter and Judas both betray Christ, but their reactions to their own errors are vastly different. Paul, in II Corinthians, praises the congregations in Macedonia, for overcoming financial odds in contributing to the Lord’s work. They did not let circumstances dictate their efforts.
Trying Versus Doing
We understand that simply trying is not enough to succeed. We have to hold ourselves accountable. We have to put our best efforts forward. II Timothy 6:12 describes our work as a fight. It is not something into which we can enter casually. It may require sacrifice. It may be difficult and trying. Our relationship with the Lord is not a trial run. It is a commitment. We are told to strive, to endeavor, to run, to press on. How might David’s encounter with Goliath had turned out differently had David been less sure of God’s protection.
Our results as a congregation are directly correlated with the commitment of our members. We must believe in what we’re doing. We cannot make excuses. We must work by God’s standards, and we cannot give up before our task is completed. In II Peter 2:21 calls turning back worse that never trying. We give up, and we lose all we have worked for. We have a goal before us. Let us press forward to our goal, working together as a team of Christians, sharing a hope in the prize we have set before us.
lesson by Mike Mahoney