Is envy defining your relationships? Can we pray for you?
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“The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose… For we are God’s co-workers” (1 Corinthians 3:8-9).
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, with humility value others above yourselves…” (Philippians 2:3).
In the workplace, it is obvious when a team is cooperating toward a common goal. Dedicated labor, enthusiasm, group review, refinement of goals and care for colleagues are all evident to one degree or another. The same is true of an athletic team, a surgical staff in the operating room or members of a family circle.
But what about followers of Jesus who are working to bring people into His Kingdom? Too often competition takes precedence over cooperation. Will our church or organization be recognized and honored over others? Will my work on this committee be valued over others’? What methods or words can I use to draw attention to myself?
Some argue that the Apostle Paul was not a bastion of humility. However, his strong commitment to the Christ who redeemed him is seen as he writes to his friends in Philippi: “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill… But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” Paul refused to compete.
TAKE THE NEXT STEP: Sticking together – Sticking together – Lessons from an ant hill
Questions: Can you think of an example of how God was glorified through cooperating toward a common goal? What can be the result when competition takes precedence over cooperation?
About the Author Marilyn J. Ehle