August 26

Living and Serving in Community, Part 3

Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor….Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Belonging to the body of Christ is a gift from God to us as individuals. But especially for the more pragmatic among us, living and serving together has another benefit: We get more done that way!

Teamwork multiplies effort. You can’t be a choir alone, or be a soccer team by yourself. Musical solos are wonderful, but there is nothing like a group singing together in perfect harmony. Watching single athletes demonstrate their skills is a joy, but there is something else again in watching a good team sport. Jesus worked with a team of 12 and a sub-team of 3. Paul and Peter, though we often think of them as striking individuals, functioned as team members in their ministries.

Allowing ourselves to become part of something greater than our individual selves yields benefits that are hard to describe to someone who’s never been part of a team or group. For example, working together brings out gifts and callings in ways that operating individually can’t match. There’s a spiritual activation that occurs when we step forward to work together. Talents and skills we never knew we had begin to manifest, and we start to get used by God in ways that are new and unexpected. Try it and watch!

Just look at some of the skills that get developed when working together:
• Learning to lead
• Learning to delegate
• Learning to receive from others
• Learning how to hand off things to others
• Learning to develop trust in others
• Learning to be trustworthy for others
• Learning to mentor and be mentored
• Sharing responsibilities

And that’s just a starter list!

There is also the joy of different perspectives. We need one another’s varying ideas, and we also need to bring our understanding to those ideas so that we can properly receive and internalize them. When we do that, we begin to appreciate and learn from others’ perspectives. This broadens our world immeasurably. (We are almost always smarter together than we are individually.) Connecting with and serving with others is worth more than taking 10 college courses and studying dozens of educational and training books.

I Corinthians 12 says, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit…But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (vv. 4 and 11). When we work together, we get the benefit of all these gifts in ways we could never enjoy on our own.

Prayer: Father, help me to be completely open to those that You have called me to work with so that You can maximize our connection. Thank You for their differing gifts, perspectives and personalities. May our service together bring me great change and bring You great glory.

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