Have you ever tried to tackle a problem by yourself? I have a history of doing so. In school instead of studying in a group, I would typically do things on my own. I have always liked to take projects on by myself. I like the satisfaction of doing something with my own hands from start to finish. I sometimes feel bad about inconveniencing others by pulling them in to my work. I often underestimate the real amount of work needed to complete a task thinking I can handle it quickly only to realize that I really should have taken someone up on the help they offered me!
I hope you aren’t like me. But I suspect we all “go it alone” from time to time.
Look again with me at the story of Deborah which we focused on this past Sunday. (If you missed Sunday’s message read it here!) Notice how there isn’t one clear person who saves Israel in this story. Deborah comes up with the military strategy which she gives to Barak. But Barak isn’t about to go it alone. In fact, he only agrees to carry out the strategy if Deborah will join him in the campaign. Deborah agrees and even points out that the victory over the enemy commander will be given into the hands of someone else, specifically, another woman. And later in the story, a Deborah’s words come true when Jael (a Kenite woman) is the one who conquers Sisera, the commander of King Jabin’s army. So, Israel’s victory occurs because of the combined efforts of three different people: Deborah, Barak, and Jael.
This story offers an important lesson for those of us who tend to do thing by ourselves: we are better together. Success comes more fully and faithfully when we join hands and work together on whatever project, task, or opportunity is before us. And it’s not just that our efforts are more success when we work together. The best solutions come when we work in teams.
I have learned this lesson over and over again in my adult life. I have consistently found that the greatest wisdom comes when people put their heads together to find a solution. I have discovered the load is lessened on everyone when it is shared. I have seen tasks that could only be completed with the right number of people involved. And I have witnessed far too many failures at the hands of people who took up work on their own without involving others.
In fact, I think the church it a witness to the power of being better together. We could all try to walk through our lives alone. But I’ve learned this: the community of the church helps me to navigate both the joys and difficulties of life. The church helps to show me and offer to me God’s grace when I cannot see it. The church as the body of Christ helps me accomplish far more that I could ever hope to accomplish on my own. The church is a place where I can find hands and eyes and ears and feet when I get stuck because I am only a heart or brain.
At its worst, the church shows us how difficult it can be to work well together. But the lessons from failures teach us how to work better together and prepare us for a world in which we must find ways to work better together if we are to truly solve the problems and ills of our day. And when we learn all that working together as the body of Christ has to teach us, we will find that we are the church at its best, that is, a church which is the embodiment of better together.
Brothers and sisters, let’s be better together in all we do as a family of faith, a people on mission. For through us the mission God has given to us is possible because God has made us family.
If you missed Sunday’s Sermon or want to hear it again, read or listen here: Spirituality: Creating Space for God Within Us
Sunday Morning Small Group Series – Half Truths
We are exploring the truth behind common sayings, such as Everything Happens for a Reason, God’s Helps Those Who Helps Themselves, and Love the Sinner Hate the Sin. They sound Christian – like something you might find in the Bible. We’ve all heard them. Maybe we’ve even said them. They capture some element of truth, yet they miss the point in important ways. Discover the whole truth by comparing Christian cliches with the wisdom found in Scripture.
Sunday Mornings from 9:45 – 10:30 am
This Week at Hood
Monday, June 25, 6:30 pm – Women’s Circles Meeting, Salad Bar dinner
Tuesday, June 26, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm – Volunteer opportunity at DUMA Food Pantry
Wednesday, June 27, 1:30-2:30 pm – Prayer & Inspiration
Wednesday, June 27, 6:00 pm – “Young-ish” Small Group Meeting
Sunday, June 24, 11:00 am – Worship – Faces of Our Faith: Queen Vashti (Esther 1-2)
Saturday, July 7, 1:00 pm – 4th of July Celebration at the Lashmit Lakehouse
Friday, July 13, 7:30 pm – Hood MCC’s Movie Night at Sweet Frogs featuring Disney/Pixar’s “Coco”