Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Whose Team Are You On, Anyway?

If you've ever played any kind of sport, for any length of time, then you probably understand that the relationship between teammates can be very complicated but it can also be very rewarding....when you understand how to be a good teammate. Personally, I see the body of believers as a team. I know the Bible refers to us as brothers and sisters. I'm not trying to take anything away from that. We are the sons and daughters of one God, therefore, we ARE brothers and sisters. I do, however, think that as believers, we could all benefit from thinking about our relationships with other believers in terms of a team. This concept came to me as I meditated this morning on the following.

Romans 15:1-7 (NIV)

1We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." 4For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

5May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

7Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

We should all be working together for the common goal of the glorification of God. I believe it fitting, therefore, to think of ourselves as a team. Maybe, then, we should pay more attention and put more effort into being good teammates. Just like any other relationship, there are key factors that go into having a good relationship with your teammates.

1. Good teammates respect what each person on the team brings to the game and understands that they, alone, do not make the entire team. (1 Corinthians 12:14-26) You may be an excellent shooter, but it means nothing if you never get the ball. You need someone to pass you the ball so that you can make the shot....this is, appropriately, called an ASSIST. The passer of the ball, is just as important as the shooter. Let's just say, for the sake of argument, you are the ONLY person on the ENTIRE team that can make a basket. It means NOTHING if no one ever ASSISTS you. You STILL need the rest of the team. It's the same way in the body of believers. Maybe you're the best leader. It means nothing if no one will follow. Maybe you're the best singer, how great can you be if no one will ever back you up or play for you. When you respect everyone for what they are good at. People will go out of their way to make sure you get respected for what you're good at.

2. A good teammate never discourages another team member. (Romans 15:1) We all have off days. We all have days where we don't perform as well as we would like to but understand that everyone is on the team for a reason. As stated above, everyone brings something to the game. So, just because someone on the team is not performing at their best, when YOU think they should doesn't give you the right to totally dismiss their overall contribution to the team. Remember, Kobe's highest scoring game was against the Toronto Raptors with 81 points. Dually, his lowest scoring game was was prior to that, against the same team with 11 points. I'm just saying, off days happen. As people of God, we should never be in the business of tearing down the spirit of someone who is having one of those days, weeks, or maybe even months in some cases. You never know what someone is going through or how weak they may already be emotionally. All it takes is the right person to say the wrong thing, and someone's spirit could be totally destroyed. Think about it, how many members have we already lost because someone's feelings got hurt. Be careful what you say to your teammate. Support each other. Build confidence, not insecurity.

3.A good team puts the well-being of the team above their own personal desires. (Romans 12:3) It sounds cliche, but their really is no "I" in team. We do not win or lose individually, we win or lose as a TEAM. Don't be so caught up in wanting to score the winning basket that you totally overlook a teammate that is wide open and in a better position to make the shot. No one likes a selfish player. It's not all about YOU. Not in sport and not in your spiritual walk either. Do what is best for the team. Keep the goal of the team in mind, not your own personal desire to be the one to see it through.

I'm going to leave you with this....

1 Corinthians 12:25-26 (NIV)

25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

You should have no desire to see your teammate fail. You should not be happy to see your teammate having an off day. It doesn't benefit you to steal the ball from them or break their confidence so that they don't feel comfortable handling it anymore. Remember, if they lose...SO DO YOU!!!!

That's my word and I'm out....

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