If you’ve ever been to a camp or any kind of team-building exercise, chances are that you’ve been in a “three-legged race.” This is when two people have their legs tied together and have to run a course (sometimes including obstacles) from one point to another as quickly as possible. Now why would anyone subject people to this seemingly ridiculous task? To teach us the importance of teamwork. 

Many recruitment processes include a segment, usually part of an assessment centre, where potential candidates have to complete a task in a group, again, testing their ability to work together as a team. This portion can make or break a person’s success in securing the job. 

Clearly, being able to work together as a team is of vital importance, even in secular work. 

As Christians and members of the Church of Christ, we are a team. Not just as fellow servants of God, but even more than that, we are a family of God as brothers and sisters in Christ. When referring to his fellow Christians, Paul used terms such as “my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier” (Philippians 2:25) and “beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord” (Colossians 4:7). 

So, as a family of God, why is working together so important? After all, each one of us will ultimately be held accountable for our own actions before the Lord. 

Romans 2:5 – 6 
“But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds.’” 

Hebrews 4:13 
“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” 

Galatians 6:5 
“For each one shall bear his own load.”

Romans 14:12 
“So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” 
I suggest to you, that the answer, as always, can be found in the Bible: 

1 Corinthians 12:27 – 31 
“Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.” 

Romans 12:3-5 
“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” 

1. Just as God designed the human body to function as a whole, He also designed the church to function together – each one having their own role to play 

While there is no doubt an element of personal responsibility, as Paul says we are “members individually,” we are also part of the body of Christ. This is God’s design. 

Each member of the body has its own role and each member is important, no matter how small. 

Ephesians 4:11-13, 16 
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” 

1 Corinthians 12:13-17 
“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?” 

James 3:3-5 
“Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.”

2. It is how we can grow and reach the goal 

Ephesians 4:16 “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” 

Having the support, fellowship and edification of fellow brethren is one of the greatest blessings of being a Christian. As we read in Ephesians 4:16, the body can only grow when it is knit together and works together effectively, each part doing its share. 

So, if each individual member does their own work without working with others at all, we should still be fine, right? After all, we are all still working, right? Wrong. Consider the example of a two-person kayak or canoe. If both people in the kayak decide to row continuously on the left side at the same time, what would happen? You’d literally go in circles, going nowhere. Both people are technically “working” but the kayak is still going nowhere. For the kayak to move straight ahead, each member needs to row in an alternating pattern on either side. This requires coordination between the two people usually involving the pair counting “1, 2, 1, 2” to stay in sync. Hence, coordination and communication is key for us to move forward together towards the destination. 

We all have the same goal (Phil 3:14 “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”) but can we get there on our own? 

As a body of Christ, we are joined together by the bond of Christ, just like in the example of the three-legged race. Imagine if one person decided to go left over a certain obstacle while the other person decides to go right. If no one gives in to the other, what would happen? As you can imagine, chaos. They would not likely reach the finish line. 

This is why Paul emphasises that we should have the same mind and that we have consideration for others. Eph 4:16 – “let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.” He pleaded with the brethren in the church in Corinth in 1 Cor 1:10 – “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 

Romans 12:10 – 11 
“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” 

Philippians 2:2-4 
“Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 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.”

As members of the body of Christ, we cannot have the mentality that we can do things as we see fit, albeit in service to God, not considering others (Phil 2:2-4). We cannot be stubborn and unyielding, rather we should give preference to others (Romans 12:10-11) and bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2). Even Jesus humbled himself (Phil 2:8) and taught his disciples that true greatness and leadership is humility and serving one another. 

John 13:12-17 
“So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 

Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” 

We have to work together in love and not against each other. By working together in the same mind, we can move forward, progress and press on towards that goal. 

Over the past year, due to the global pandemic, the whole world has been forced to adopt a “new normal.” I myself have been working from home since last March, having virtual meetings and working with colleagues many of whom I have never met in person. The services of the church were not spared from being disrupted as well as we had to start having personal studies, seminars, bible classes and worship services online via Zoom. At first we had a lot of technical difficulties as we struggled to manage the systems and improve the quality of the services, be it noise disturbances, the selection of the hymns, the size and timing of the song sheets, etc. Bible class teachers had to learn how to share their screen and present lessons via their laptop or computers. Less technologically advanced brethren struggled to even download and use the Zoom platform. Slowly but surely, we adapted. The reason we managed to do so, I believe, is because of the help and good teamwork of various brethren, each doing their part in helping and serving one another, considering each other’s interests. 

Despite the circumstances, I am grateful for the opportunity to be involved in this work of serving the Lord. Even more so, Jer Rick and I are very thankful for our fellow labourers who have been working alongside us to coordinate the services via Zoom and also Youtube. 

It is at times like these, difficult times, that we are reminded that we are truly blessed to have a family of God, who is there to support us. 

As we all continue, each in our own capacities, to serve the Lord, let us remember to work together because we are not alone in this Christian race. Let us continue not only to focus on our own responsibilities but also to help each other along the way. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 
“Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? 

Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”