Teamwork essential to success in life

Published 9:15 pm Monday, November 6, 2017

There is absolutely no success without it. Without it, the Los Angles Dodgers and the Houston Astros would not be the National League and American League baseball champions. Without it, there would be no beneficial community life. Without it, there would be no successful by-pass surgeries. What am I talking about? You have probably already guessed it. I’m talking about the essentialness of teamwork.

In the Israelites first battle, they were fighting the Amalekites at Rephidim. The commander of the forces of Israel was Joshua. In addition, Moses held the rod of God in his hands and was up on the mountain praying along with Aaron and Hur.

To say the least, it was a strange battle. At times Israel would appear to be winning, then the Amalekites. But finally the issue of the battle was decided. When Moses lifted up His hands in prayer, Israel prevailed. However, when he lowered his hands, the Amalekites prevailed. Thus, it was not only only the soldiers on the field who were determining the battle, but also those on the mountain who were praying for them.

Now, there is no question about the importance of prayer in this story. It is critical to the outcome, but prayer is not the subject of this article. The subject today is teamwork, and this story is one of the best examples of teamwork in the entire Bible.

Moses, an old man, is holding up the rod of God in his hands, but he grows weary. So, his friends, Aaron and Hur, take a stone and place it under him so he can sit down. Then they stand on either side of him and hold up Moses’ hands so that they would remain steady. They do this all day long and ultimately Joshua and his forces win the victory. That’s teamwork, and there is no victory without it (Exodus 17: 8-16),

Speaking of teamwork, there is hardly a question that one of the notable weaknesses in America today is a lack of it in our government and in other areas as well. Working together for the common good seems to be a forgotten reality in our time, especially in politics.

For a moment, let’s venture into the sacred territory of focusing on the Office of the President of the United States. Whether, we voted for President Trump or not, it is secondary to what is happening in our nation today. Certainly, it is obvious that President Trump has neither helped the nation or himself in developing thoughtful teamwork. His ever-present tweeting has often caused more disunity than unity. His lack of experience in the political arena has also seemed a hindrance.

On the other hand, there has been no thoughtful teamwork from the numerous factions that oppose the president either. Much of the political establishment has given him no chance or assistance at all. I thought it was interesting that former President Jimmy Carter, of the opposing party, stated that he thought President Trump has been the most criticized and maligned president in U.S. History.

It is not my intention here to blame President Trump, those who oppose him or anybody else. I am aware of the relevancy of Jesus’ words about “casting the first stone.” But I am prayerfully concerned about the lack of teamwork that is being demonstrated in America today.

The following are a few thoughts about teamwork or what it might mean to work with others for the common good of all. First, have a willingness to be disturbed! Margaret J. Wheatley, American writer and management consultant, shared this idea in one of her books. She stated, “no person or perspective can give us the answers we need to the problems of today.” How true! Consequently, as disturbing as it might be to some, leaders need to work together with other leaders in providing a better present and future for all Americans.

Second, build up rather than tear down! This ought to be obvious, but it doesn’t seem to be in much of American life today. One of the missing ingredients in the current political arena seems to be a lack of respect for the opponent’s opinions. And, of course, this is not confined to the political arena. At any rate, criticism often leads to hurt pride and resentment. While respect for another’s opinion, leads to new growth, cooperation and accomplishment. Abraham Lincoln was correct when he said, “A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.”

And third, the realization that compromise is frequently the way forward! While we should never compromise biblical principles or deep convictions, compromise on other issues sometimes is the only way forward. It is clear that laboring alone or in opposing parties or groups is not the answer to the multiple issues facing our nation today. Working alone or in our special interest groups, we simply are not capable of handling the complexities of our time. Praying, listening and working together is the great overwhelming need in our country today. America can thrive on teamwork, and we need to elect leaders who are willing to be part of that greater team of the common good.

Hal Brady operates Hal Brady Ministries in Decatur with the stated goal of presenting the good news of Jesus and offering encouragement in positive ways.