Would Others Call You a Team Player?

“Each of you should look not only to your own
interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Phil. 2:4

Over the years I’ve had the privilege of providing chaplain services to basketball, football, and baseball teams. From what I’ve observed, successful teams seem to really encourage and support one-another. Of course “support” can be subject to interpretation.

For example, it seems every season, baseball has a fair share of “beanball” incidents. Usually the coach or team captain challenges the pitcher to retaliate against the other team by throwing at marquee players. The umpires call this “getting after it” and will often throw people out of the game if officials believe that things are getting out of hand. Some commentators defend these actions, declaring, “He’s supporting his teammates.” Unfortunately, many team leaders don’t realize that encouraging and supporting one-another should have more to do with inspiring others to “good works”.

The Apostle Paul was a great team leader. He regularly challenged his followers to love and serve each other—to be committed to “the team” (1 Peter 4:8, Rom 12:10). There are times in our lives when we either need to lean on others or others need to lean upon us (Gal. 6:2). We were not made to live this life alone! The following story demonstrates the comfort and sustaining power we can receive from one another…especially when the going gets tough:

Sadhu Sundar Singh and a companion were traveling through a high pass in the Himalayan Mountains when they came across a body lying in the snow. The man was barely alive. Sadhu told his traveling companion they needed to help the stranger. The companion felt his best chance was to move on and make it on his own.

After his friend left, Sundar placed the poor traveler upon his shoulders and slowly carried the man onward. The high altitude and snowy conditions caused Sundar to fully exert himself. The heat from his body warmed the victim and gradually restored life to him. The two men struggled together and, leaning upon one another, kept each other warm and encouraged.

Tragically, as they neared their destination, they came across the frozen dead body of Sundar’s first companion. His independent struggle for survival had failed, and he died a lonely desperate man.

God’s Word instructs us, “… if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” Ecc. 4:11. There is no doubt that life can be difficult; we need each other. As Christians, we need to be like a successful team, encouraging and supporting one-another. No one “player” can carry the whole team. We have to learn to work together, through the grace and unconditional love that comes only from the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s re-define “getting after it” to being team players who are committed to the good works that Christ has called us to, to serving each other, to fighting the good fight, and to winning souls!

The Power of Truth:

  • “…so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Rom. 12:5
  • “And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.” Heb. 10:24
  • “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Heb. 3:13

Suggestion for Prayer:

If you find you’ve been on an independent journey for survival, commit to “the team” today. Ask the Lord to bring strong Christians into your life to lean on and support…and to fill you with the grace and unconditional love you’ll need to care for others.