Don’t Be a Ball Hog
Surely, we can all remember playing a game or two when we were younger, and there was always that one kid who wanted to be the one to score all the points, win all the goals, and shoot all the baskets. They never wanted anyone else to have a turn, so they wouldn’t pass the ball to anyone, even if it meant they lost the ball to the other team. Plain and simple, they just did not know how a team worked.
Unfortunately, habits like this don’t stop when the childhood games are over. If not corrected, they often become destructive traits in adults because let’s face it, life is not a childhood game of soccer. The stakes are much greater now. As I continue to grow older, I am realizing more and more the reward of being a team player. It is a beneficial and desirable trait in the workplace as well as the church when we can learn to place ourselves aside, meet the needs of others, and work towards a unified goal rather than our own agendas. In doing so, there is a certain level of harmony that cannot be created any other way.
Rather than seeking out our own opportunities, God’s Word tells us in Philippians 2:3 to prefer our brothers and sisters over ourselves. Like oil and water, self-promotion and true servanthood will never mix. There is absolutely no room in God’s kingdom for “ball hogs.” The hand does not work against the foot, nor the ears against the eyes. We are not in competition with each other; we are not in a race to see who can get the most speaking engagements or get the most recognition for their work in the kingdom. We are one team in a race to redeem the time we have been given to reach this lost and dying world. We are in a race against Hell for the souls that stand in line for eternity. We are called to be team players—many members of one body pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Pride is the usual culprit behind disunity and competition, but I’ve heard it said, “It is my job to humble myself and God’s job to exalt me. If I insist on doing His job, He will insist on doing mine.” If we decide to exalt ourselves, God will undoubtedly humble us. James 4:6 teaches us God resists the proud and gives grace unto the humble. When I hear that verse, I imagine God literally “stiff-arming” someone who is full of pride. Our pride and self-exaltation has no place in God’s kingdom. So, you’re gifted—we all are. God has given each of us certain abilities to be used alongside each other for His glory. God’s Word tells us in Proverbs 18:16 that a man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men. It is nothing you have acquired of yourself. It’s nothing you’ve earned or fabricated that will make a place for you—it is God’s gift that makes room for you and brings you into places you would not otherwise be able to stand.
I heard a preacher once say that we must allow God to make the room for us because if we try to build it ourselves, the dimensions will be all wrong. We might think we are making a large enough place for ourselves to stand and use our gifts, but we will always sell ourselves short. When God makes the room for us, He will always take us much farther than we could ever go on our own. Let’s trust God to make the room for us. He will exalt and abase as He sees fit. It is our job to work in unity with the rest of the body.
If we want to see an outpouring of the Spirit, there must be unity in the body of Christ. When we see another brother or sister being used mightily of God, our first reactions should never be comparison but rather let us rejoice that God’s work is being done. We do not have time to bicker about who will be the greatest in the kingdom. If I remember correctly, Jesus scolded the disciples for debating the same matter. There is too much work to be done to be arguing about who is doing what. If we are all focused on our own goals, we will never accomplish what God has asked us to do. We need all hands on deck working together for this end-time revival. Let us be in one mind and one accord, seeking God’s perfect will for the church, regardless of our own personal desires.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1).
Sarah is the Hyphen contributor for InsideOut and a recent graduate of Urshan College. She is now happily married to Jordan Hudspeth with whom she serves the Hyphen group at The Life Center in Saint Petersburg, Florida. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.