If you have ever been on a winning team, you know how wonderful it feels. For a team to be successful every team member must do his or her part.
A baseball team consists of nine players who play various positions. Although the pitcher gets the credit for a victory and accepts the blame for a loss, he cannot win the game by himself. He needs the support of his teammates, both in the field and at the plate. If he pitches very well, he can stop the opposing team from getting hits, but he cannot score for his team from the mound; only batters can gain runs.
Sometimes, in order to move a base runner into a scoring position, the manager may ask a player to bunt, rather than "swing away" at a pitch. If the next batter gets a base hit and scores one or more runs, the sacrifice of the previous batter was instrumental.
Teamwork is also essential in football. The team consists of 22 players; 11 play offense and 11 play defense. Although the offense gets the credit for scoring points, the teams with the best defense win the most Super Bowls.
In both baseball and football the most successful teams are the ones whose players put team goals ahead of personal glory and are willing to do whatever it takes to be part of a winning team.
In the military everyone learns to function together as a cohesive unit. Personal sacrifice is often essential to ensure victory on the battlefield. During wartime, the closer a soldier is to the front line the more he appreciates those serving alongside him. While a soldier may not always agree with the tactics employed by the soldiers of another unit, he is certainly glad that they are on his side, and every success is mutually shared.
As Christians, we are all members of God's team and soldiers in His army.
We are fighting the same enemy, the devil. We may disagree on certain doctrinal issues that are not essential to our salvation and our relationship with God; however, there is more to unite us as believers than to divide us.
In Mark 9:38 the apostle John came to Jesus and said, "'We saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us'" (NIV). Jesus responded to John, "'Do not stop him . . . No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us'" (vv. 39-40, NIV).
What Jesus said next will be an encouragement to anyone who feels that his or her role is unimportant. "'I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward'" (v. 41, NIV).
Every player is needed on God's team; every soldier is essential in His army. A victory by one member is a victory for all.
By: Howard W. Stevens
© by Howard W. Stevens