Teamwork: Above All, Bind Together
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” -- Colossians 3:14-15
Have you ever gotten into a dispute with a teammate? I’ve seen it happen during my time as both an athlete and a coach. Sometimes it’s immediately obvious, like when two players get into unhealthy competition for a starting position. There’s tension, jealousy, and resentment there. Sometimes it happens on a personal level between two or more teammates outside of the sport; suddenly there’s gossip, grudges, and anger that often spreads like wildfire throughout the whole team.
Worldly wisdom would say this is okay as long as it doesn’t interfere with their performance on the team. After all, you don’t have to like your teammates; you just have to do what you’re supposed to do on game day, right? Well, as Christians, we’re called to a higher standard. In one sense, it’s correct to say that you don’t have to like your teammates or the people you work with because God doesn’t call you to like them—He calls you to love them.
Over and over, the Bible talks about living in peace with one another, loving one another, and living in unity as one body of believers. What does that look like? Well, in sport, that means we need to be slow to anger, jealousy, resentment, and judgment, and instead, be quick to understand and forgive. When someone on the team performs better than us, God asks us to rejoice as they rejoice rather than holding it against them. When they have a tough time, we’re supposed to come alongside them and encourage them rather than seeing it as an opportunity to outdo them. When someone on the team wrongs us, we should seek to be reconciled with them quickly, not harboring a grudge and refusing to forgive.
As believers, teamwork doesn’t just mean getting the job done alongside other people. It means that we truly take the attitude of Christ, “who humbled Himself in obedience to God” (Philippians 2:8) and laid down His privilege as God to serve others above himself. When we live out that same humility towards others and seek to live (and compete) in peace and unity, we truly exemplify the biblical standard of teamwork.
- Have you ever caught yourself feeling jealous or resentful towards a teammate or colleague? Describe the occasion.
- Have you ever seen or been a part of a team that exemplified unity? What were some characteristics of that team and the people on it?
- What needs to change in your heart for you to live and compete in true biblical unity with others?
Philippians 2:1-11; Ephesians 4:2-4
“God, please give me a spirit of unity and help me to love and forgive others as You have loved and forgiven me. I want to look more and more like Christ every day as I strive to compete/coach for You. Thank You for the power You’ve given me through the Holy Spirit to overcome my human desires as a teammate/coach and truly become more like You.”