We’re on the Same Team!
by Jacob Hudgins
“But Moses said to him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!’”(Num 11:29).
At times our spiritual work can be plagued by selfishness. I resent the attention you get from others. I am jealous of your talents and opportunities. It angers me that you don’t see things the way I do. Some of the great men of the Bible teach us something simple but vital: God’s people are on the same team!
Teamwork breeds humility. Some of John the Baptist’s disciples approach him, concerned about Jesus’ growing popularity. “And they came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him’”(John 3:26). John’s answer is instructive: “The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease”(John 3:29-30). John is not threatened by Jesus—not jealous—not resentful. His disciples don’t like that John is being eclipsed, but John does not mind. If we are on the same team, then your success is my success too! If I decrease and you increase, so what? If I am solely concerned about the furthering of God’s work, then how big my part is holds no real importance. We’re on the same team!
Teamwork eliminates jealousy. Moses’ assistant Joshua is concerned because two men are prophesying by the Spirit in the Israelite camp. “My lord Moses, stop them.” This looks like a threat to Moses’ role of spiritual authority. A jealous man would stamp out this insubordination and assert his authority. “But Moses said to him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!’”(Num 11:29). Moses is not threatened by others speaking for God. What others do only furthers the cause! Moses even expresses a desire that all God’s people were prophets. Joshua’s jealousy is inappropriate. We’re on the same team!
Teamwork brings celebration and rejoicing. Both John and Moses revel in others who join them in doing God’s work. John says “the friend of the bridegroom…rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete”(John 3:29). Moses is excited and hopes more of God’s people will prophesy. Paul, writing from prison, observes that “some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will”(Phil 1:15). Yet he concludes, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice”(Phil 1:18). Even if from suspect motives, some were preaching Jesus, and this made Paul rejoice.
Occasionally we become discouraged because we hear of scandals or problems in other places. On some sad occasions we have front-row seats to such troubles. It is easy for us to lose sight of the fact that we still belong to Christ and that there are a host of people living for him just as we are. Rather than focusing on the negative or differences we have with others, we need the biblical perspective. Rejoice in the work of others! We’re on the same team!