Not long ago I was reflecting on partnerships and now it’s so appropriate to consider teamwork in the light of another humbling experience.
I have not played competitive sport for years. I love to watch it, read about it, offer my outstanding analysis on it, but I recognised a long time ago those were my strengths. Actually taking part in it physically was not one of my strengths. I have done it in time past and enjoyed it, but when it came down to it, the activity was just too much for me. So I wisely bowed out and left it to those that way inclined to pursue the matter while I reverted to the area of my expertise.
In recent times, however, it was gently put to me that it may do me some good as an athletic outlet to consider returning to it. So, I duly volunteered. No sooner did I volunteer than I was thrust into the mix. And what a mix it was. The memory of it is still raw for me now and allow me to put it this way, that the team I played for were involved in a thrilling game featuring 14 goals.*
For all that I was very grateful for the experience. I witnessed a group of people who complimented each other well. Knew each other’s abilities. Played to each other’s strengths. Were flexible to the changing aspects of the game. They played the game knowing when and where to capitalise on opportunities that came their way because they went about their business diligently to create those opportunities. They weren’t precious about who took the kudos, they were very deferential where that was concerned. As a result the image of a bombastic centre figure who commanded everything was absent. The less vocal players lead in their intuitive movements around the team’s movements. The more vocal players piped up to stimulate further interaction and movement and highlight impending dangers to their team mates. They were especially marvellous at encouraging each other throughout the match.
Witnessing those elements at work reminded me that it’s not only in the sporting context that those values can be expressed. Creative outlets like making audio or televisual programmes can display those qualities. Even better, communities of grace can, have and do express those values and more in the pursuit of seeing the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
After that humbling team experience, I returned home and came across some material that directed me back to how communities of grace can commit to those values in practice. It’s my desire to redouble my efforts to practice those in the opportunities God gives me. Not out of a desire to perform, or to aspire to a degree of accomplishment and notoriety for the world to see. Rather, because it’s something that appears so natural to what life in Christ together can display. I love those kind of things that can help bring that about.
So bear that in mind as you consider me in your prayers. Thanks muchly.
Oh and as for the sporting activity thing. Well I haven’t given up on it as yet, but I may not be available until all my aching limbs can function without me wincing, groaning or stopping to sing the chorus to the hymn ‘How Great Thou Art’, in a pained manner expressing to the great God, it would be great if He could heal me now! I think I will need a good team to help me with that.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden
(*In that 14 goal bonanza, the team I played for got beat 11-3. Still at least we scored 3 to make it look somewhat respectable … Who am I kidding, saying we were crushed and demolished would be flattering to that exhibition of sporting annihilation. But it’s worth it to learn these valuable lessons. Well that’s what I keep telling myself for consolation.)