‘All for one and one for all’; ‘United we stand’; ‘No one player is more important than this club’. Whether it is historical phrases or modern slogans, teamwork is the order of the day -but what happens if someone in the team is no good?
When someone lets the side down it has a dramatic knock-on effect on the others. This is especially the case if the team is small and trusting of one another. An account manager caught embezzling, a salesman lying, a manager giving secrets to a competitor, a finance director siphoning off funds, a store man stealing stock; the rest feel let down, betrayed and angry.
Sometimes the finger is pointed at the team leader. Why didn’t he or she spot the problem? How did the rotten apple get into the barrel in the first place? Good leadership means preventing such damaging practices. This exposes the incompetence of the leader.
Would that it were that simple. Jesus chose twelve team members. He spent a whole night in prayer on top of thirty years of his life before he picked his personnel. He then spent three years training them on the job. He told them, he showed them, he debriefed them, and he trained them.
And yet…. Philip didn’t understand, Peter denied him, Judas betrayed him, a group ran away and Thomas doubted him.
Teamwork is messy. If Jesus Christ had a messy team why should we expect to be perfect? Out of the original twelve only one, Judas, was beyond redemption, but all the others had to go through failure to achieve success. Anyone who has no room for human beings in their team is doomed to long-term failure. Jesus Christ included short-term failure in His budget, knowing that if there was a willingness to try again, long-term success would result. It’s neither team nor leadership that guarantees success, it’s knowing what matters, then persevering with real people even when it’s messy.
John 14: 5-14
5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the
Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
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