George Washington, in his farewell speech following his second term in office, advised the nation against having political parties. Obviously, that was advice not heeded. While party spirit turned out to be a fact of life for our nation, politics was not meant to be the way of the church. Nevertheless, favoritism developed around strong leaders.
Early on in his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul speaks of four distinct groups. Some preferred Paul, others liked Peter, and another bunch supported Apollos. Furthermore, a fourth group claimed to have no such favoritism by saying that they “followed Christ.” Yet even that did not leave them free of the “party spirit.”
As he addresses this problem, Paul reminds the church that what they saw as differences of character would be better understood as differences of responsibilities. Each of those leaders had specialized work. Paul’s first example was to point to himself as one who laid the foundation. Specifically, his main work had been to bring Christ to the people. In his own words, “We preach Christ crucified.”
The church is about teamwork. When former NDSU Coach Craig Bohl accepted the coaching position for football at the University of Wyoming, he took seven members of his coaching staff with him. Teamwork is not just for the players but for the coaches as well. Everyone needs to be on the same page and understand the focus of the program in order to be as successful as they can be.
Christ makes his church a team program. The focus is on his work of salvation. His obedient life, his sacrificial death, his glorious resurrection, his ascension and coming again all become the one foundation for the Gospel. Only as the Gospel enters our lives are we built on Christ. The Word of God makes us and maintains us for who we are, team members in the Kingdom of God.
Stick with the Gospel of Christ, and you will be the team player He has called you to be.
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