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The Power of Teamwork

Who are these people?  Bud Abbott.  Gracie Allen.  Tim Conway.  William Clark.  Robin.  Eve.  Ernie.  Wilbur Wright.  Moses Horowitz.  Some of the names ring a bell, while others may leave you a bit stumped looking for a clue.  Let’s try rephrasing the question with a little more information.

Do you recognize any of THESE names?  Abbott and Costello.  George Burns and Gracie Allen.  Tim Conway and Don Knotts.  Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.  Batman and Robin.  Adam and Eve.  Orville and Wilbur Wright.   Moe, Larry and Curly.

Suddenly our minds start recognizing the names because they are put in association with someone else who was intricately tied to their place in history.  We laugh with the 3 Stooges or The Apple Dumpling Gang.  We read about the exploits of Lewis and Clark.  We cheer Batman and Robin as they whip the bad guys.  We groan under the weight of futility and remember what Adam and Eve did for us by eaten the forbidden fruit.  We look up in the sky and marvel that such a huge hunk of metal can transcend air and actually fly.

Throughout human history, the power of humanity has been tied to the ability of humans to work together as a team.  It wasn’t a man who said, “Now nothing will be withheld from them.”  It was God who looked down on the common purpose and common language of the people building the tower of Babel and spoke those words.  The unity with which they acted was such an incredible power that God determined it was necessary to throw some confusion into the mix with diverse languages in order to stunt the plans and the timetable of civilization and technological development.

Teamwork is vital to progress.  One person may have a great idea, a history-making idea, and that one person can become discouraged, sick, disillusioned or distracted.  But let two people join together and say, “We WILL work as one to accomplish this common goal,” and that goal will happen.  The Bible itself tells us that “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their work. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he doesn’t have anyone to help him up.”  (Eccl 4:9-10)

Even when one thinks of the famous names throughout history who are not normally seen as part of a duo, one realizes that they were surrounded by a larger team.  Thomas Edison may have been credited with the invention of the monofilament light bulb, but he had a sprawling laboratory in which others played a part in helping develop and test that invention.  Regardless of what anyone may tell you, Michael Jordan did not win the NBA title single-handedly.  He was part of a larger team which pulled together around such a star athlete — but everyone made a contribution.  Even the Apostle Paul who wrote such a large portion of the New Testament had a set of traveling companions who accompanied him on his missionary journeys.

What are key essentials to teamwork?  First, the team must have a common, clear vision of what their purpose is.  Whether it’s finding a Northwest Passage, the secret of flight, the best combination of ingredients to make fudge, finding a cure for a disease or how to write the next big music hit, successful teams have a clear purpose.  They know what they are about and why they exist.  (The opposite of this is summed up in Proverbs 29:18 which tells us that where people do not have a common vision, they will perish or lose restraint.)

The second key ingredient to a successful team is … people.  There have to be two or more people who are willing to pursue the goal stated in the vision of the team.  Someone once said, “There is no I in team.”  Well, I would add that there is no “u” in team either, if you want to get grammatical.  But if “you” AND “I” are working wholeheartedly toward a common goal, we are a team.  In the real world, people relocate, they get sick and die, and sometimes they just plain quit.  Having enough people to see the vision through is critical.

The third key to success for teamwork is to develop a set of guidelines or mile markers for attaining the team goal.  How many of us have played sports and had the coach at the beginning of the year asking something like, “This year, how many of you want to be champions?”  The shouts and cries can well up in a moment and dissipate just as quickly.  Any coach can ask that question.  The good coaches have a plan for attaining such a goal in measured steps.  And they are willing to share those steps with the team at the right times.

Marriage problems, work problems, money problems — many of the issues which stress us out on a daily basis tend to stem from conflict with other people where we are not working as a team with the other parties.  Changing direction, having open discussions, asking for counsel from the wise can all help us to reorient ourselves if we are the one who is missing the team focus.  So can prayer and a good healthy diet of God’s Word.  If you are having trouble staying focused, start reading the book of Proverbs which is chock full of practical advice for daily living.

Ask yourself this question:  “Am I really part of a team anywhere in my life?”  If you are, be thankful for it and do your best to contribute something positive toward the whole process.  If you are not, you’re missing out.  One person can only accomplish so much.  Our lives were made to be lived in community and harmony with those around us.  Ask God today to help you find the right team to join up with, and then act.

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One Response to "The Power of Teamwork"

  1. […] read a fab piece about teamwork today (find it here) that I loved. I loved it because it so brilliantly highlights that we can not do this by […]

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