How many times have we heard it said, “There is no “I” in team.” It’s true. In a sense, it takes a very different mindset to play a team sport (baseball, football, basketball) than an individual sport (golf, tennis). We have seen this contrast recently in the Ryder Cup golf competitions where American golfers have struggled to take their individual games into a team context. Why have they had trouble making it work? Because golf is an “I” game, and the challenge to work together doesn’t come easily.
What does it take to succeed in a team sport? Among many things, two significant attitudes: priorities and cooperation. The priority piece is wrapped up in putting the success and goals of the team ahead of personal achievements or statistics. If your priority is one self-promotion, you will never be a valued teammate—you will actually be a burden and drag on the larger purposes of the team. The cooperation piece is that we must learn how to pull on the same end of the rope together.
All of this is beautifully pictured by the Bible’s description of the Body of Christ and how all the members of the Body, like a physical body, function together to accomplish higher purpose. Beyond the functionality, however, is the absolutely vital element of attitude—and that attitude is captured by the apostle Paul when he wrote to the Body of Christ at Philippi:
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)
A trusted teammate recognizes and embraces the value of subordinating self to the needs and goals of those around us. Are you a trusted teammate?