Summary: The teamwork that Jesus used through the disciples had the power to change the world
The Power of Teamwork
August 21, 2011
Every year in Alaska, a 1000-mile dogsled race, a run for prize money and prestige, commemorates an original "race" run to save lives. Back in January of 1926, six-year-old Richard Stanley showed symptoms of diphtheria, signaling the possibility of an outbreak in the small town of Nome. When the boy passed away a day later, Dr. Curtis Welch began immunizing children and adults with an experimental but effective anti-dipheheria serum. But it wasn't long before Dr. Welch's supply ran out, and the nearest serum was in Nenana, Alaska--1000 miles of frozen wilderness away. Amazingly, a group of trappers and prospectors volunteered to cover the distance with their dog teams! Operating in relays from trading post to trapping station and beyond, one sled started out from Nome while another, carrying the serum, started from Nenana. Oblivious to frostbite, fatigue, and exhaustion, the teamsters mushed relentlessly until, after 144 hours in minus 50-degree winds, the serum was delivered to Nome. As a result, only one other life was lost to the potential epidemic. Their sacrifice had given an entire town the gift of life.
The exponential power of God moves in a variety of ways. We have studied that God moves through the reality of faith. God moves through the dedication of service. God moves through the sacrifice of giving. When God pours out His exponential power, amazing things happen. Lives are changed, hope is reborn, eternity meets the earthly. God also allows His exponential power and presence to move through teamwork. When the people of God join together and partner with God and one another amazing things take place.
We see illustrations of teamwork all through the message of the Bible.
Noah and his sons built the Ark
Joshua led the armies of Israel to great victories
Nehemiah assembled a team to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
One of the best examples of teamwork flows out of the gospels. Jesus built the greatest team to ever grace planet earth. This handful of people would bring unparalleled change to the world. The twelve apostles would become world changers. God would move on their lives and move through their lives.
13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve--designating them apostles--that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons. 16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot Mark 3:13-19
All of these men were persecuted for their faith and their courageous preaching of the gospel. Every man, except John, was killed or the gospel. They died or what they believed. They died or the cause of Christ. Jesus built a team that was willing to pay the highest price for the Kingdom.
Jesus selected leaders based on spiritual insight. Jesus based His decisions on the potential of the person. Jesus ignored the externals of those He selected because there was more than what human perception could see. Jesus did not allow their status or personal limitations be factors in His decisions.
Jesus chose people for His inner circle that makes us wonder about the wisdom of His decision. Jesus never allowed outward appearance to play a role in His selecting His team. Jesus refused to see people for where they were at the moment but saw what they could become.
When Jesus looked at Simon Peter, he did not see the fisherman who would deny Him three times. Jesus saw the preacher of Pentecost. When Jesus looked at Matthew, He did not see the tax collector that everyone hated. He saw the writer of the gospel. When Jesus looked at Thomas, he did not see the doubter. He saw the courageous man who proclaimed my Lord and my God.
Jesus assembled the unlikely to accomplish the impossible. He does the same thing today. Jesus ignored the stereotypes of leadership and developed great leaders by investing Himself into them. Jesus invested Himself into the disciples to see His character flow out of their lives. Investing in people spiritually always trumps providing training or developing their skills.
The team that Jesus built was far from perfect and revealed some unusual choices by Jesus. The team had its ups and its downs. Jesus dealt with several of the common problems that have the ability to destroy teams.
Division: Who is the greatest?
The disciples argued over position on several occasions. The common point was who was the greatest among the disciples. The question was really aimed at who had the highest position and authority among the twelve. The same argument was made for determining the pecking order of who had to do the lowest chores, such as washing each other’s feet.