Udaipur is called the ‘city of lakes’ and it attracts hundreds of migratory birds from around the world. Migratory birds are such a joy to watch. Have you ever wondered how they are able to travel such long distances in single migratory season? The key lies in teamwork! The geese take exhaustive journey and fly 5,000 miles from Canada to France. As the geese flap their wings, they create uplift for the bird following it. They fly in V-formation which adds more than 70% greater flying range to the whole flock than if each bird flew alone. It is teamwork which makes such a herculean task achievable.
Teams are at different levels. There are no sports which do not have any team. Do you think chess, F1 racing and golf are individual sports? Think again! There is a TEAM behind any endeavor. Christopher Columbus discovered America–there was a team behind him, Thomas Elva Edison invented bulb–a team of 21 professors were doing calculations for him. Wilbur and Orville Wright–inventors of first plane in 1903–were not wrong when they worked together; they made the adage, ‘sky is the limit’ more meaningful when they worked creatively as a team to invent the first plane. Teamwork simply means the combined effective action of a group to achieve a common goal. A t-shirt quote rightly says T.E.A.M stands for: Together Everyone Achieves More. It becomes a force when we work synergistically.
When right people are added at the right place, they add value and a forward thrust to the team.
Bible is replete with teams and teamwork–Adam and Eve, Moses and his leaders, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Paul and Silas, Gideon and his 300 men, Jesus’ 12 disciples and many more. One dynamic and incredible team I know of is in Nehemiah chapter three. For a clear picture we must read chapter 1 and 2 painstakingly. I know it’s tiring to read chapters when we have capsule verses to fit our needs. We don’t want to bother our eyeballs and disturb our fingers to flip the pages. But amazingly, we ourselves are an individual team. Our mind and body work in congruence. No wonder, when people get drunk, we say that the person is not in his right mind, because his body does not match his impaired state of mind. But, Nehemiah demonstrated a mind-blowing intellect and action-packed plan to assemble a team to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem! He was the ‘Man-In-Action’. He had a dream–to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, and a team.
Repairing a four–meter wide and many kilometers long wall with limited resources and a group of enemies taunting unceasingly was not a musical cakewalk, plus the builders were amateurs. Perhaps, God is not looking for professional people but for ‘actional’ people. Titanic was made by professionals but the Ark was made by amateurs. No prices for guessing what happened to Titanic and the Ark! Nehemiah had no degrees in civil engineering, but had degree in ‘devil engineering’. He knew what the enemy will do in stopping his dream come true. Wait a minute! Before you read further, ask yourself; what is my dream? ‘A dream is not something you see while you are sleeping, but dream will not allow you to sleep’, said former President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam. I have a dream to see India as a blessed nation. Surely, the task is Everest-sized, but the God who made Everest is with us. If the churches become an ‘actional’ entity and unite themselves against the taunting of the world and work with a larger vision to reach out to the people with the gospel of Christ in schools, colleges, offices, market places, malls, rural places and urban pockets as well. If we have the grit to dream, God will give the gift to do.
Between 1920 and 1953 there were seven major failed attempts to conquer the highest peak on earth at 29,035 feet. Tenzing Norgay was on six of them. Failures did not deter his dream rather determined his dream. Nehemiah had a big task – a wall. Someone said “Where there is a will there is a wall”. What is the wall you are facing today? Wall of rejection? Wall of complexes? Wall of taunt? Wall of guilt? I will advise you to make a hole in it. As Paul was lowered from the wall and foiled the assassination bid on his life. He made a way through the wall. Norgay did not see the wall, but the hole. On 29th May, 1953 Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first team to stand on the pinnacle of Everest.
GOD IS NOT LOOKING FOR PROFESSIONAL PEOPLE BUT FOR ‘ACTIONAL’ PEOPLE
EVERYONE IS IMPORTANT
Chapter three of Nehemiah is not a very wow chapter. It talks about three things–names, more names and some more names! But we can see a strong team working for one cause. They all were in unison to build the wall. Teamwork simply means, less of me and more of we. The word ‘repair(ed)’ comes 38 times in this chapter. Everyone knew they had a job and they all were doing it. Mother Teresa once said, “you can’t do what I do, I can’t do what you do; together we can do great things”. Bible echoes that ‘one will chase thousand and two will chase ten thousands’—that’s the synergy of teamwork. Nehemiah places everyone at the right place for a better, quicker and bigger result. John Maxwell writes five rules about the importance of right people at the right places as follows:
‘Wrong person at the wrong place leads to regression,
Wrong person at the right place leads to frustration,
Right person at the wrong place leads to confusion,
Right person at the right place leads to progression,
Right people at the right places lead to multiplication.’
When right people are added at the right place, they add value and a forward thrust to the team. It seems, Nehemiah placed people by the 5th rule and the wall was successfully built in record 52 days. Henry Ford rightly said, ‘coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress and working together is success’. The progress of the team stalls when we have the “not-my-job” attitude and we become the weak link. Nehemiah’s team did whatever they saw to be ‘doable’. No work in God’s kingdom is small; all work for Jesus’ sake is King-size in dignity and Queen-size in privilege.
Once there were four people – Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure that Somebody will do it, Anybody would have done it, but Nobody did it. A team does not work independently, but inter-dependently. A dwarf standing on the shoulder of a giant can see farther than the giant himself. We need everyone because all are important. God needs you for his work. Will you step out and say yes?