Scripture

Philippians 2:1-4

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Reflection

Baseball player and manager, Casey Stengel once said, “It’s easy to get good players. Getting’ em to play together, that’s the hard part.” If you’ve ever been part of a team or managed a team, you know how true this is.

How does one blend their abilities and talents with those of other people? How do we cooperate with others so we can reach our goals? That question applies not only to sports teams, but also to families, businesses, and to the team of humanity.

Individualism, pride and selfishness hinder a team from being successful. The Apostle Paul understood the value of working effectively with others. In his letter to the Philippian church, he offered advice, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” 

Paul understood that when we focus on ourselves and our own interests at the expense of others, we will ultimately end up isolated and ineffective. He understood that we can do much more for Christ if we work together, toward common goals. This way is not always easier, even the disciples squabbled and struggled to get along. But together we are called, collectively we are charged with drawing others toward Christ.

Is there someone you need to “play” better with? Is there a person you need to bring in as a teammate instead of an adversary?

Prayer

Dear God, rid my heart of hate and fear. Teach me to love like you. Help me see each person as a reflection of your love. Remind me that each of us is created in your image. Give me courage to reach out to others in love, to deepen my friendships, and start new relationships as well. You created us to live in community, to walk in love with our brothers and sisters. Help me live my life in this way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.