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Friday, January 08, 2016

The Value Of Teamwork


If it's one thing I've learned from my years of working in the healthcare industry, it's the value of teamwork. No one staff member can adequately fulfill his/her duties without the help and support of other members of the team. With everyone pulling together, the workload seems lighter and more pleasant as each person applies his talents and uniqueness to the task. It's no different with Christianity, and that's why the Bible shows many instances where people got together for a common purpose and God was in their midst, helping them achieve the seemingly impossible.

One of the most amazing pieces of teamwork in the Bible is the fall of the walls of Jericho. The Lord promised Joshua that He would give Jericho into the hands of the Israelites if they would do as He commanded them. God's commands were really simple: "March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in" (Joshua 6: 3 - 5).

So, Joshua did as he was told. He called the priests together and gave them the same instructions the Lord had given him. The people obeyed and the walls came down. As easy as that. But let's look at a few things. The priests headed the procession in front of the ark of the covenant, blowing the trumpets, followed by the rear guard then the people of Israel, estimated to be about 1200. But the walls of Jericho were no flimsy pieces of construction. These were fortified walls made of mud bricks, towering about 46 feet above ground level. Jericho seemed impenetrable. 

So what made this teamwork succeed?

1. A strong leader. Joshua had succeeded Moses after his death and God had promised Joshua,
"Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses" (Joshua 3 : 7). And God did. Just as He used Moses to part the Red Sea, He used Joshua to part the Jordan so the people crossed over on dry ground (v 17). No doubt, this increased Joshua's faith and earned him the respect of the people.

2.  A sense of purpose. The team knew the purpose of what they were doing and they went forward with that in mind.

3. Obedience. Joshua was obedient to God's commands, and so were the people. Not one of them broke the silence or tried to attack the enemy during the six days as they marched around the city. 

4.Confidence. The people trusted Joshua, but knowing that God was with them gave them the confidence that they would be victorious. 

5. Order. Last, but not least, in order for the teamwork to succeed there had to be order. Nothing can be achieved if there is disorder. In this case, every person knew where his position was and what he was expected to do. (Read 6: 3 - 5 again.)

How is it with the church? Do we have a sense of purpose? Do we have strong leaders we can trust and look up to? Are we obedient to God's commands? Most of all, do we place our confidence in God, knowing  that we can succeed in the task that He has assigned us? 

The apostle Paul said, Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others" (Romans 12: 4 - 5). 

Are you part of a team in the body of Christ? If not, ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can apply your talents and skills to assist the body. 

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