Sometimes God wants us coming alongside someone or a group of people to mentor or coach them till they can stand on their own. Then we stand back or aside and watch them fulfil God’s purpose for them.
Other times, God brings two or more persons together so they could work together on a task from start to finish as a team. They complement each other with their individual talents and strengths, staying focused to achieve the common goal.
“The experts have no corner on wisdom; getting old doesn’t guarantee good sense. Job 32.7 MSG”
Neither of them usurps control over the other, it’s not obvious to anyone who made it happen as the team worked efficiently. No one is more important, and no one suffers from bouts of an inferiority or a superiority complex.
And it’s important to understand exactly what God wants in your specific situation so you don’t overstep your boundaries fighting with people you should be helping or end up walking away from someone He wants you to work with.
And many times, we may be deceived by the demographics of the people God sends our way. And assume that just because someone is older than we are, we will be unable to coach them. Or we wonder how we will cope when the person who’s leading the team is younger than we are.
Don’t assume that just because you are older than someone else, you have earned the privilege to mentor them. And the people you think are young and immature may surprisingly bs wiser than you.
Those who are adding value to others and doing great exploits for God and His kingdom are not the oldest, smartest or most experienced, but they are teachable, available and obedient.
And it’s possible for any of us to miss out on God’s purpose for our lives because we’ve walked by the opportunities to either coach someone or partner with the people that God had sent our way. And our pride or ignorance gets in the way, jeopardizing the great things God would have done in and through us.
I kept thinking, ‘Experience will tell. The longer you live, the wiser you become.’ But I see I was wrong—it’s God’s Spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty One, that makes wise human insight possible. The experts have no corner on wisdom; getting old doesn’t guarantee good sense. Job 32.7 MSG
“It’s important to understand exactly what God wants in your specific situation so you don’t overstep your boundaries fighting with people you should be mentoring or end up walking away from someone He wants you to work with. “
And there are a number of reasons why God’s preference for us is to work in teams. None of us has all it takes to complete the task He has assigned for us.
Aaron and Moses will be our first example of a team God used to rescue His people from slavery. God sent Moses to speak to Pharaoh about freedom for the Israelites. Moses makes three complaints to God: He felt unworthy to be sent to Pharaoh, he was worried that the Israelites would ask about who had sent him and that he wasn’t eloquent.
But really Moses’ excuses were a mask because he was afraid. He had killed an Egyptian and there was a bounty on his head but here God was asking him to go back to the same people who sought his life. And that’s what many of us continue to do, we mask our fears with excuses and refuse to step into all God has in store for us.
So, God tells Moses that Aaron, his brother will go with him to Pharaoh. And throughout the period that God sent the plagues to Egypt, it was Moses and Aaron who heard God speak to them each time, who both went to Pharaoh, and did as God commanded.
It was Moses had received the assignment but Aaron was courageous and able to persuade the elders and people of Israel about the vision of their being rescued from slavery. Going alone to Pharaoh was probably overwhelming for Moses but with Aaron, Moses wasn’t as frightened.
Aaron wasn’t jealous that he wasn’t the one at the burning bush. Moses acknowledged that he needed help and he agreed to work with Aaron. Some people know they need help but refuse to seek help or partner with those God has sent their way.
Moses and Aaron must have been discouraged each time Pharaoh reneged on his promise to let the Israelites go free. They must have struggled with so much doubt wondering if God had sent them. Working as a team provides the encouragement from other team members to keep going when life gets rough and tough.
The rescue mission wasn’t about Moses or Aaron, they worked as a team and no one regarded the other as more or less important. And when the team keeps its eyes on the goal to be achieved, there is little or no time for bickering and conflicts.
Paul and Silas are another great example of team players. Paul was only a recent convert in the early church but he had received a mission from God to take the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul couldn’t fulfil his mission alone, even though he could have tried.
The church asked Paul to travel with Barnabas on his first missionary journey. Paul didn’t look down on Barnabas nor did he consider himself more important because he had received a heavenly vision. Paul was willing to learn from others
As he moved from one town to the other, God brought different people to Paul to encourage and strengthen him for the work God had committed to him. Then, church commissioned Paul and Silas to travel together. This arrangement was similar to what Jesus did when He sent the seventy out ‘in pairs’.
Paul and Silas had no clue about what would happen when they got to the city of Philippi. After they healed a young girl who had a spirit of divination, they were beaten and thrown into jail. While Paul and Silas sang praises to God, He sent an earthquake, the jailer and his family get saved and baptized.
If Paul was beaten alone, it would have been tough for him but having Silas was an encouragement. If he sat alone in jail, he would certainly have struggled with depressing and hopeless thoughts but having someone else share the burden made it lighter for Paul.
Singing alone is great but singing with someone else or in a group makes all the different. And it was hard for Paul or Silas to drift off to sleep at midnight because there was someone else cheering them on to do that. And when the jailer and his family opened their heart to the Lord, Paul and Silas could share in their joy together.
We don’t know if things would have been different if Paul had travelled alone to Philippi. When we face challenges on our walk with the Lord, it’s harder to keep going when you’re isolated, and no one is praying for you or encouraging you. There are many abandoned projects and incomplete journeys because people chose to walk alone.
There are also people who are frustrated and exhausted reinventing the wheel when they should be collaborating with others to achieve much more. It takes a village to fulfil your assignment, let’s ask God to open our eyes to the people He’s sent our way and be willing to partner with them to fulfil His purpose.
Sadly, our pride, jealousy and a lack of trust, often keeps us from seeing the opportunities to work with others. We don’t want to share the stage with anyone and want to make a name for ourselves and we end up losing it all together.
John the Baptist and Jesus are a peculiar but perfect example of what working as a team looks like. John’s purpose was announced at birth. There were no ambiguities: He was not the Christ but was to prepare the way before Jesus began his earthly ministry.
John was content with being a messenger. Many of us don’t want to be called messengers, we want to be gods pointing people to our achievements and monuments rather than to Jesus. His scope was to preach and baptize with water and he stay focused on that task.
John didn’t have the best of conditions to serve God. But he was faithful to his ministry. Many of us will not live in the wilderness or consent to wear clothes made of camel skin or eat locust and wild honey. When people were in doubt, they ask John and he confirmed to them that he was not the Christ.
John’s humility was profound, he lived away from the spotlight, he drew no attention to himself and stay focused on the mandate to tell everyone to repent as the kingdom of God was near. When we compare ourselves or compete with others trying to be and do what’s outside God’s will and purpose for us, we will definitely be exhausted and overwhelmed.
John was neither jealous nor insecure about Jesus’ role. Some people have refused to work with others because they were serving in the background and not in the spotlight. Our world has a long list of organizations and ministries that have been founded by individuals who broke away from the people God had called them to serve with.
It’s a lot more effort that’s required to work with certain people but if we keep our eyes on the achieving the vision God has entrusted to us a team, it doesn’t matter who gets the credit, who’s on the stage or off the stage.
The twelve disciples of Jesus would be our last example of finding purpose by partnering with others. Jesus had chosen these twelve men from all walks of life at different times. Over the course of three years, Jesus shared His vision of His kingdom with them, but they didn’t quite fully grasp it until Jesus died and rose from the dead.
God took a risk with these twelve men who struggled with anger, pride, a lack of a compassion, greed just to name a few. None of these men would have been on our team if we were Jesus especially when He knew all about them, but Jesus chose them anyway.
And God entrusted the birth of the church to these ordinary men who had no degrees in theology nor experience in leadership management. They had no handover notes and couldn’t send emails or texts to Jesus when they got into a knot but surrendered to be led by God’s Spirit each step of the way.
“It’s not what we can do for God’s kingdom that’s important but what God chooses to do through us.”
And it could have all turned out differently from what happened on the day of Pentecost but something had happened in each of their hearts and with one accord, they obeyed Jesus’ command to wait in Jerusalem till the Holy Spirit was sent.
And the book of Acts is a journal of how they all worked as a team and stayed focused on their mandate to take the gospel to the ends of earth. They could have broken away from each other to begin their individual ministries, but they didn’t. They could have taken advantage of those they healed by demanding monetary gifts, but they didn’t.
Working in a team could be stressful with our different temperaments and expectations. And just as in any relationship, the relationships between team partners are usually strained. Sadly, many have walked away from what God wanted to accomplish through them because of what someone said or did.
The apostles stayed focused on the common goal and remembered the One who had called them all to serve. And when we take our eyes off the goal or forget who has called us into ministry or serve with ulterior motives looking out for only what we stand to profit, then, we run the risk of serving in vain, serving with he wrong motives or walking away from everything God has in store for us.
Serving God is a privilege, let’s never think for a moment that we deserve to be used by God or we have become any more qualified than someone else. God is still looking for people who are available, willing and obedient. It’s not what we can do for God’s kingdom that’s important but what God chooses to do through us.