No "I" in Team

"So Abram said to Lot, 'Let's not have any quarreling between you and me. . .for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Let's part company. If you go to the left, I'll go to the right; if you go to the right, I'll go to the left.'" -Genesis 13:8-9 

In sixteen years as the coach of the Boston Celtics, Red Auerbach guided his team to nine NBA championships. He retired after the 1966 season as the winningest coach in NBA history with 938 wins. While his teams had some great players, they were characterized more by their team play, which included a new concept of using role players. According to Auerback, a role player is one who “willingly undertakes the thankless job that has to be done in order to make the whole package fly.”

In the same way, Abraham and his nephew Lot were a team. But as they traveled together with their flocks, herds, and households, they realized the land could not support them both without escalating strife among their people. Rather than flaunt his role as leader, Abraham gave Lot his choice of land. Abraham might easily have put himself and his household first; instead, he sacrificed his desires for the good of others and trusted God to provide for him and his household.

Christ gave up his authority by going to the cross, and we can reflect his sacrifice in service to others. It’s not easy to sit on the bench, but like Auerbach recognized, unselfish players on the bench are just as important to the success of a team as starters. Christian competitors have a great opportunity to serve their teams by being willing to give up their place. In fact, those who want to be great on their teams recognize the joy of serving as Christ did.

1. How can you encourage attitudes of service rather than selfishness on your team?
2. How have you seen selfless competitors influence a team?
3. What one thing can you do today to reflect a selfless attitude for your players?
Extra Reading: Matthew 20:25–28; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Philippians 2:3–4

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your life of sacrifice. I pray that You would increase that I may decrease as I serve others for Your glory! Amen.