No success is possible without teamwork

Published 7:56 pm Monday, June 11, 2018

There is absolutely no success without it. Without it, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors would not be the Eastern and Western Conference champions of the NBA. Without it, there would be no successful heart surgeries. Without it, there would be no notable companies. And without it, there would be no religious institutions of excellence.

What am I talking about? You have probably already surmised. I’m referring to the essentialness of teamwork.

It was Israel’s first battle, and the Israelites 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 Hurr.

To say the least, it was a strange battle. At times, Israel would appear to be winning then the Amalekites. The battle seemed to see-saw back and forth. But finally, the issue of the battle was decided. When Moses lifted up his hands in prayer Israel prevailed.  But when he lowered his hands, the Amalekites prevailed. Thus, it was not 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.

Here’s the picture — Moses, an old man, is holding up the rod of God in his hands, but he grows weary. So his friends, Aron and Hurr, 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 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.

For the rest of this article, I just want to share a few thoughts about the essentialness of teamwork.

First, teamwork is God’s avenue. John Maxwell observed that “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.” He goes on to say that all the significant accomplishments in the history of humankind have been achieved by teams of people.

And that’s true of us even in our own lives. If we think back to the most significant experiences of our lives, the high’s and the low’s, the joys and sorrows, the victories and obstacles to overcome, how many happened to us alone? It was and is through our connections.

At any rate, God seems to work through teams, whether in the secular or sacred arenas. Here, we remember that God chose the Israelites, Jesus chose the disciples and the Holy Spirit works through disciples to reach and make other disciples.

Walter Albritton, Methodist minister, told of the occasion when he bought one of Bruce Larson’s books. Bruce Larson was an extremely gifted Presbyterian preacher and author. Albritton ask Dr. Larson to autograph his book. Larson wrote: “To Walter, teammate in the work of Christ, Bruce.”  Albritton said that Larson’s humility touched him and blessed him with unexpected dignity and joy. It was the word “teammate.”

Second, teamwork is the answer to our dreams. Recently, I attended the annual meeting of the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church. One of the leaders was Mrs. Claire Bowen, human resources specialists and church consultant. She spoke to conference members about strategic planning and what she called a “Plan for a Page” for their congregations. She went through the planning step by step. However, the underlying assumption of the “Plan for a Page” is teamwork, people working together for a greater dream or goal.

The late Robert Schuller gave us five inner qualities of mind that make it possible to climb a mountain. These five include the following: dream, gleam (excitement), scheme, beam (prayer) and team. Whether we are in the secular or sacred realms, we cannot build our dreams alone. We all need a team to accomplish our goals.

Lawrence Taylor was a standout football player for the New York Giants. According to his coach, in spite of all the praise he received from the fans and the media, he was only interested in three things: Did the team win? Did he contribute to that win? Who were we playing next?

The dream, gleam, scheme, beam — none of it makes any difference without the team.

Third, teamwork doesn’t always mean agreement, but it does mean that the dream or mission always comes first. Disputes happen from time to time with even the best of people. A sharp dispute arose between to two biblical partners and friends in the faith — Paul and Barnabas. The dispute was so serious that the two partners separated. But each partner simply selected another companion and continued their mission of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world.

Whenever there is disagreement, we should always seek reconciliation. However, even in disagreement, the mission comes first.

But this article is about the importance of teamwork.

Moses, an old man, is holding up the rod of God in his hands, but his hands grow weary. His friends, standing on either side of him, hold up Moses’ hands so they would remain steady. They do this all day long and ultimately Joshua and his forces win the victory.

That’s teamwork and, remember, there is no victory without it.