The Promise of Teamwork

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The Promise of Teamwork

Numbers 11:24-30

So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.

Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, “My lord Moses, stop them!” But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!” And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

John 7:37-39

Rivers of Living Water

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ ” Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified. “

Sometimes teamwork feels like a burden and a hassle. There are so many tasks that just seem simpler doing them myself. Less communication. Potentially less criticism of the work. Beneath that there is a desire for control, which comes across in at least two different ways. First, it gives us direct input into the projects we are invested in as a form of active conntrol. This is the kind of control we typically attribute to those with ‘’control issues” (i.e. they always have to be the ones giving orders). There is another, more passive form of control though. Passive-aggressive controllers seek to condense the amount of work to the things in their immediate influence. It is the other side of the coin. Whereas active controllers jump up to do any taste that comes their way, passive controllers will neglect, discourage, or sabotage any task or ideas for tasks that they will not do themselves. The passive approach is not necessarily lazier than active control, it requires more subtlety and social stamina.

While small aspects of both forms of control are probably helpful in leadership at times, neither form is ideal. The ideal way to get work done is through teamwork (and there are more reasons for that than I can fit here). Let me give you two good reasons:

  1. Both the Old Testament and New Testament promote teamwork as a superior form of work and leadership. In fact, I would go even further and suggest that all the commands God gives us find a fundation in teamwork.
  2. To accomplish a vision bigger than ourselves we need to work with others.

Everyone has off days. Everyone gets sick. All of us deal with the reality that our lives here on earth are temporary. You see the struggle to work as a team (especially among leaders) parallel the success and adaptability of businesses all over the world. Most businesses are fortunate if they can last 40 years without closing or selling out. The number of businesses that outlive their founders is substantially less. (Perhaps we should bear that in mind when we make comments about running our churches or our governments like a business!) If something is going to grow and outlast us, we have to teach it how to do so today, not just wishfully imagine it will magically figure it all out they day we retire.

Teamwork is a gift. God could have left us on our own, fighting with each other and our own selfish natures. Instead, He gave us His Spirit which always gives us more blessing than we can hold, more work than we can do, more hope than we can use, and norejoy than we can share. The Holy Spirit makes teamwork happen whenever it pours into us… and coincidentally I believe, it only pours out in us When we are gathered into tears over the work that God has for us. It does not empower controlling people. It only comes to those who are asking for help.

How has teamwork blessed your service to God?

How has the Holy Spirit empowered your teams?

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