Play as a UnitThe most underrated word in the New Testament is unity. Each of the letters to the churches speaks of the unity that believers must have. When the devil wants to destroy our work, he targets our unity. He tries to come between us and turn us against each other.
It is almost shocking when we read what Jesus said on the subject during that final prayer for his friends in the Upper Room. He prayed to the Father about the kind of unity he wants us to have:
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as
We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and
that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have
loved Me. (John 17:22-23)
Did you catch that? He's talking about the unity within the Trinity, the very person of God! As the Father, Son, and Spirit work in perfect harmony with one another, so are we to do that very same thing. What an incredible thought: "that [we] may be made perfect in one." Yet it is absolutely consistent with what the Bible teaches: We are the representatives of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to those who do not believe, so we must measure up. We are the only Bible that some people will ever read. We would be terrified by these ideas if not for two things:
- God has promised his presence and his power wherever we go.
- God has given us each other--and together, we are the body of Christ.
Therefore, insofar as we are followers of Christ, we must learn to function as a well-oiled team. But these are universal principles too. They work for everybody. Any kind of team is stronger when its members have unity. Any group is greater than the sum of its parts when everyone learns his or her role.
We have to go to the animal kingdom for the best pictures of working together in perfect harmony. You may have heard about the remarkable range of the geese that migrate from Canada to the southern United States when cold weather comes. Scientists have been astounded by the fact that these fowl can travel thousands of miles in an organized fashion. It is clear that they could never make the journey as individual birds.
They travel in the familiar V formation that makes such a beautiful sight in the autumn sky. Fighter pilots, by the way, began taking their cue from the geese many years ago--it's just good aerodynamics, and it saves fuel. Each goose creates an upward air current for the one behind him. It is estimated that by flying in the V pattern, the flock gets 71 percent greater range than each would get in a solo flight.
Photo from WikipediaThe front goose, the point in the V, rotates that position with the others. Obviously he faces the most wind resistance, and when he tires, he drops to the end of the line where he can rest in the best spot. One of the two geese behind him rotates into position. And the back geese do the honking. We can't be sure, but it may be that they are signaling the everyone is in position, and all is well.
What about when they are not fine? Old and sick birds fly in the center, where it is easiest, and if a bird becomes wounded or too ill to continue, two others escort it to the ground and stand guard, waiting until the sick bird can fly again.
The geese are God's example of how we should work together as a team. They accept the enormous challenge of flying thousands of miles in a short time and are then prepared to return in season. Together they get it done in a way that is systematic, efficient, and protective of every member. Think again about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Having the best player in the league--probably in history--only made them a competitive team. [There was a story about Michael Jordan in a prior chapter.] Playing together as a fully committed unit made them a dynasty.
Think about the organizations you are a part of--your family, your church or small group, your business organization. How well do you communicate among yourselves? How do members protect each other in times of weakness or struggle? How are tasks rotated or distributed for the most efficiency? We would all do well to create an ongoing report card, giving grades for these factors and others.
Let's pull together and play as a team!