I was watching an interview with the England reserve wicket-keeper recently. His name is Jos Buttler and he had been dropped from the Test team a few months earlier so had basically spent 2 months on the tour of South Africa as “12th man”, in other words the person who makes himself useful around the place and fields if anyone gets injured during a match.
He was very up-beat about his future prospects and he also said something very interesting. When asked how he had been spending his time he told the interviewer that his job was to help the other members of the team to be the best players they could possibly be.
Wise words. And the Bible has a lot to say about this.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
Even Jesus, as leader and teacher of his disciples, was their servant. He never considered himself to be superior to the others in his team but built them up so they could be the best possible followers and leaders.
Moses, too, had Aaron in his team and Aaron, although the High Priest, was always there supporting Moses and this was mutual because Moses helped Aaron many times as well even though they each had individual roles to play within the leadership of Israel.
What can we do, then, to help those around us to be the best they can possibly be?
- Encourage Everyone needs the confidence to do a good job and encouragement is one of the factors that really help. No-one can be their best if they feel criticised. 1 Thess 5:11 says “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
- Watch others’ backs People make mistakes or don’t notice things. Maybe someone forgot to buy milk and you noticed. Buy some milk! A great team-player covers others’ errors rather than pointing it out. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
- Stop competing This is where the cricketer’s response really hits home. He would have given ANYTHING to be in that team and he was competing directly against 2 or 3 other team members to get a place. And yet he did not let that prevent him from working for the team and helping the others to be their best. Re-read Phil 2 above. Jesus never attempted to hold on to his status. He gave himself fully to God’s purpose. God’s purpose was his purpose. He was working only for the team.
So next time you are working with someone, think how you can help them to be their best. Jesus did it and he has called us to follow him.