This morning I am finding myself thinking about competition. I think, as a society, we have become competitive but I am not sure that is a good or healthy way of living. Competitive has been defined as “rivalry for supremacy”. Synonyms for competitive….”antagonism, contention, opposition, struggle”. (taken from dictionary.com).
What happens when being competitive enters the church? Look carefully at the above definitions & you will see the results … antagonism, contention, opposition & struggles.
But what if we were to operate differently in the church? What would be the result of being cooperative with one another?
Cooperative has been defined as “working or acting together willingly for a common purpose or benefit”. Synonyms for cooperative ….. “accommodating, harmonious, reciprocal, responsive, supportive & (my favorite), concerted.” (taken again from dictionary.com).
The result is much different. Everyone gains as cooperation is reciprocated. It brings about a concerted effort in which everything blends together to create something of beauty, of usefulness & of purpose.
Paul, in writing to the Corinthian church, likens the church to a body. One body made up of many parts. Each part does its specific purpose but always acting as one body. Each part is very much needed in order for the whole to function healthily. Paul puts it this way:
“But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (1 Corinthians 12:18 NIV).
You are where you are & who you are, with your specific gifts & talents because that is the way God wanted you to be. He created each of us specifically. It was not a random act. Some have more visible giftings, some obscure but all are needed. Paul continues:
“But God has combined the members of the body & has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.” (verses 24b-25 NIV).
There it is – the church should be a concerted effort. And remember the part about it all being reciprocal?
“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (verse 26).
Today may we lay aside any competitive attitudes & instead become fully cooperative. It is then we will see what the Lord will & can do!