October 10, 2018 (Mark 2:1-12)

The Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines teamwork as, “work done by several associates with each doing a part but all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole.”

The saying, “There is no ‘I’ in team,” reflects the part of the definition that says all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole. In considering this, we should remember, “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” In cooperating or working together, the team can produce a result that no individual alone can create.

The “lone wolf” versus the pack concept reminds me of the Japanese kamikaze pilots of the Second World War who made suicidal crash attacks upon warships. No matter how dedicated and willing these pilots were to fight—exchanging their life in a single act of dive bombing their plane onto a ship—their reckless act bore little fruit.

A picture of the success spectrum finds teamwork at one end and kamikaze recklessness at the other end. By focusing on team success, we subordinate kamikaze desire for personal prominence to cooperation. Nothing beats people working together for a common cause. 

Mark chapter 2 gives an excellent example of teamwork. Four men, determined to bring their paralytic friend to Jesus in hopes of healing, did what one of them couldn’t individually.  

  1. The men knew of Jesus’ power to heal and believed if they could only get their friend into Jesus’ presence, he would be healed. (Verse 3)
  2. Each man shared a corner of the mat. (Verse 3)
  3. They didn’t let obstacles deter; instead, they were determined and showed remarkable ingenuity, “Since they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above where He was. And when they had broken through, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic was lying.” (Verse 4)
  4. The faith of the four men was rewarded, “Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Verse 5) Then, Jesus said, “I tell you: get up, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” (Verse 11)
  5. The results of teamwork. “Immediately he got up, picked up the stretcher, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Verse 11)

We must bring PEOPLE to Jesus. We must bring ALL PEOPLE to Jesus. We must bring all people to Jesus by ALL MEANS.