LEARN TO WORK WELL WITH OTHERS

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

DECEMBER 24, 2023

TOPIC: LEARN TO WORK WELL WITH OTHERS

BY T. O. BANSO

“I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us” (3 John 9 New King James Version).

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 teamwork so that they can fulfil their destiny.

The ability to work well with others is fundamental to success in any human endeavour. A single tree does not make a forest. No man is an island. To succeed in life, you must learn to work well with others. You can do this and remain uncompromisingly righteous.

No matter how brilliant, skilful, diligent, prayerful, and the like you are, if you have a lack of team spirit and don’t work peaceably with others, 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, avoid contentious situations despite your differences, and manage conflicts effectively when they arise. It also means 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, “Don’t just pretend that you love others: really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good” (The Living Bible). The New King James Version puts it like this “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” We cannot deny our differences but we must learn to understand them and work harmoniously with others. We must respect others and communicate effectively.

In 1 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul compared the body of Christ (the church) to the human body and talked about how it should work harmoniously. He said that the human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body, so it is with the body of Christ (verse 12). He continued in verses 14-17: “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?” (New King James Version).

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. “But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’” (1 Corinthians 12:20-21 New King James Version).

It is either arrogance or ignorance that makes one feel that he doesn’t need others and, therefore, does not work well with them. Anyone who does not know how to work well with others will end up being a failure in life. Former US president, Theodore Roosevelt said, “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”  Having a good relationship with others is vital to success.

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 meeting to pray for themselves. It was a fellowship among themselves, not a special meeting. However, this pastor insisted on knowing the specific role he would perform before he would attend the prayer meeting. He felt superior to the rest who were at the same level as 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; or breeds quarrels (Proverbs 13:10a).

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 politely 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 that 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 wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us” (3 John 9 New King James Version). The 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 of 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.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that 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 God raised Him on 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 a palm tree and grow like a 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 work 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. Father, help all the leaders in Your church to work harmoniously henceforth in Jesus’ name. let the followers be submissive to leadership and refrain from lying against their leaders and defaming their character.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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