WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
DECEMBER 9, 2020
TOPIC: LEARN TO WORK WELL WITH OTHERS
BY T. O. BANSO
“I sent a brief letter to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, does not acknowledge our authority” (3 John 9 New Living Translation).
Hebrews 12:14 tells us to live in peace with everyone. Christians who are growing spiritually tend to work well with others because they get along with people, without compromising their faith. Parents must teach their children not to be selfish or self-centred so that they can go far in life. They should teach them team-work so that they can fulfil their destiny.
The ability to work well with others is fundamental to success in any human endeavour. A tree does not make a forest. Nobody is an island to himself. To succeed in life, you must learn to work well with people. And you can do this and still remain uncompromisingly righteous.
No matter how brilliant, skilful, diligent, prayerful, and the like you are, if you lack team spirit and don’t work peaceably with the rest, you become a liability anywhere you go because no single person can do everything. Also, you will limit yourself in life. Competence is not enough; team spirit is essential.
Learning to work well with others means that you walk in love with them and avoid contentious situations despite your differences. It means that that you are not driven by selfish ambition but consider others’ interests and the goal that you all seek to achieve together.
Philippians 2:3-4 says, “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” (New King James Version).
Similarly, Romans 12:9 says, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other” (New Living Translation). We cannot deny our differences; we must learn to understand them and how to work harmoniously with others. We must respect others and communicate effectively.
Talking about the body of Christ (the church), Paul says in 1 Corinthians12:12 that the human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body, so it is with the body of Christ. He continues in verses 14-17: “Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, ‘I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,’ that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, ‘I am not part of the body because I am only an ear and not an eye,’ would that make it any less a part of the body? Suppose the whole body were an eye — then how would you hear? Or if your whole body were just one big ear, how could you smell anything?” (New Living Translation).
No human body consists of only one part. No matter how good and effective a part of the body is, it cannot perform the functions of the other parts and it needs them. The entire body functions well when each part acknowledges the functions of other parts and each part performs its functions. “Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’ The head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you’” (1 Corinthians 12:20-21 New Living Translation).
It is either arrogance or ignorance that makes one feel that he doesn’t need others and therefore, fails to work well with them. Anyone who does not know how to work well with others will end up being a failure in life. President Theodore Roosevelt is quoted as saying, “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” Knowing how to get along with people is a key factor in working well with them.
You must learn how to work well with others in the family, school, office, church, and so on. Failure in this area is one of the reasons for the problems some are contending with today. Some have lost their marriages, employment, positions, businesses, peace of mind, and even health. God didn’t create this world for you alone. You must learn to work well with others.
To achieve this, you must not have an exaggerated opinion of yourself. Don’t be full of yourself. Get rid of an inflated ego. Don’t look down on others. “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” (Romans 12:3-5 New King James version).
I recall a pastor who was invited by his colleagues to join them in a regular prayer meeting, a fellowship among themselves, not a special meeting. He insisted on the specific role he was being invited to perform as a condition for attending the prayer meeting to pray for one another. Obviously, he felt superior to the rest who were at the same level he was so he didn’t attend. That was pride. The rest attended not because they were told their specific assignments at the meeting.
Must you be the one to lead a prayer meeting before you attend? Must you pray fervently only when you’re the one leading? Any minister, who is not cooperating with others because he is not the one leading or preaching, has a bad spirit. Must it always be you? Stop wearing the necklace of pride (Psalm 73:6a). Pride causes strife (Proverbs13:10a).
I know ministers of God who have been in meetings where others, out of respect, wanted to hand over to them to lead but they refused. They attended the meeting not because they wanted to lead. Neither did they give the impression that the meetings would have been better if they had led or preached. What is important is for God to do what He wants to do. He can use anyone He chooses to use. You don’t have to be the person.
In 3 John, the apostle John talks about Diotrephes, a Church leader who was full of himself and would not work well with others. John wrote a letter to the church to receive and support the travelling ministers but he refused to receive them. “I sent a brief letter to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, does not acknowledge our authority” (3 John 9 New Living Translation). Bible in Basic English says, “I sent a letter to the church, but Diotrephes, whose desire is ever to have the first place among them, will not have us there.”
Diotrephes loved to be the leader in the church and would not listen to John. He also lied and said evil things about John. In addition, he refused to accept other visiting ministers and forbade those who wished to receive them, putting them out of the church.
Christian leadership is not by selfish ambition. It is not something you campaign, compete, scheme, or lobby for. God has requirements that prospective leaders must meet which are written in the Bible (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; Acts 6:3). Jesus says whoever wants to be a leader among His followers must be their servant (Mark 10:43b).
Diotrephes was a bad example of a Christian and a church leader. Thus, John advised, “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God” (3 John 11 New King James Version). Don’t be a Diotrephes.
Unlike Diotrephes, Demetrius, another person mentioned in 3 John, had a good testimony from all. He had a good reputation. Even, Demetrius had a good testimony from the truth itself! “Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true” (verse 12 New King James Version).
Don’t be a Diotrephes; be a Demetrius. In other words, don’t be self-conceited, domineering, or unaccountable to leadership. Don’t lie against your leaders and defame their leaders because you love to be the leader. If you can’t be a good follower, you can’t be a good leader. If you can’t work well with others, you can’t be an effective leader. Be a team player. If you can’t work well with others, you can’t fulfil your destiny.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, give me the grace to wok well with others. Deliver me from an inflated ego and an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Keep me humble LORD; deliver me from pride which causes strife; remove the necklace of pride I’m wearing. Let all Christians be submissive to leadership and refrain from lying against their leaders and defaming their character. Father, help all the leaders in Your church to work harmoniously henceforth in Jesus’ name.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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