As a military helicopter pilot, I flew many exciting and potentially dangerous missions on the far side of the world. Some missions took everything I had to accomplish, but if it had not been for the SEAL team at the landing zone, the medic in the back, the crew chiefs who kept the aircraft flying, or the forward air controllers who kept the battlefield chaos in check, my abilities alone would never have been enough. Teamwork is vitally important to mission success.
In the military, a successful mission is never the sole result of one person’s effort. At the tip of the spear, where the heavy lifting gets done, you will always find teams of teams, with each person and small group working together in harmony to ensure successful completion of the mission. Without each team member leveraging his or her unique insights, talents, and abilities, mission success would be far more difficult and unlikely. And so it is in many other aspects of life, including faith.
Writing to one of his teams, a church in Corinth, the apostle Paul explained teamwork this way:
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body… If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. As it is, there are many parts, yet one body…If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. (1 Corinthians 12:14–26, ESV)
Paul, an experienced team leader, knew that the success of a mission was dependent on each person harnessing a unique God-given skillset for a common goal. Paul never worked alone and Jesus always sent His disciples out in teams. They both knew that mission success depended on resource alignment, shared vision, and shared energy. We succeed together and we fail together.
It can be easy to think that a person’s position within an organization, a church, a family, or a business makes him or her more or less important, but that is simply not true. Within any group, we each have an important and unique role and the group’s success depends on each person fulfilling that role. The commander cannot command without troops, the senior pastor cannot accomplish all of his work without an army of volunteers, and you and I cannot accomplish our greatest good without joining our efforts with others on a team.
Each of us is blessed with distinct perspectives, insights, experiences, and talents. God calls us to unite with other believers and use these to accomplish the Kingdom tasks He has prepared specifically for us. As Ephesians 2:10 reminds us, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
You and I were uniquely created to accomplish the tasks God prepared for us before He laid the foundations of the world. Your experiences, passions, desires, talents, and abilities were all intentionally given to you so you could be a part of the team and be a force multiplier. Whatever your task, title, or position on the team, you are an important and critical member. What the team can accomplish with you is far greater than what it can accomplish without you.