Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
I recently learned a new phrase from my daughter in law—“Teamwork makes the dream work.” She mainly uses it with our 3 year old grandson who wants to do just about everything by himself J Except, for many things, he can’t. But he gets upset if she does them for him. Why? Because he wants and needs to know that he can achieve. He also wants his independence! So, with the wisdom of godly motherhood, she cheerfully announces this rhyme about teamwork. Then she lets him participate and do what he can, while she partners with him to do what he can’t, and the impossible (for him) becomes possible. The good gets accomplished. And fighting, whining, and frustration are replaced by harmony, relationship-building, a job well done, and satisfaction in doing it. I got to see all this in action the last time we had our family all together. Everyone, spectators included, benefitted and felt better!
We all smile when small children “get it” about teamwork serving the purpose better than going-it-alone independence. But what about us? Especially those of us who live in societies where people laud “rugged individualism”?
The Lord designed us to achieve great things and feel good about it. But He didn’t design us for independence from Him and/or others. When He forbade Adam and Eve from partaking of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”, it wasn’t to spoil their fun. It was to keep them from living life apart from Him. They ate the “apple” in order to “be like God, knowing good and evil” (Satan’s devious marketing strategy) (Gen. 3:5) In other words, they wouldn’t need God, or anyone else, to accomplish whatever they wanted to do. They could be independent.
So what’s wrong with that? Shouldn’t we “pull our weight”, “stand up on our own two feet”, and not think and act like the “world owes us a living”? Yes. We need to accept responsibility and do whatever we can to contribute to society. But if everyone were totally independent and no one needed each other for anything, who would there be to contribute to? We’d all be a bunch of lonely automatons, a world unto ourselves, with no give, take, or relationship. And no appreciation, since there’d be no one or nothing to appreciate outside of ourselves. What a depressing thought, eh?
This doesn’t mean we should let the wrong people or groups control us. Former colonies have become independent for good reason. But an individual or country escaping abusive control is different from becoming totally self-sufficient. Or, as John Donne wrote, “No man [person] is an island”.
That’s also why Eccles. 4:9-10 tells us, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” It’s also why we have sayings like “Many hands make light work.”
Such as when a group of us transplanted six trees, many flower bushes, and dug out weeds on the grounds of a homeless shelter a couple of weeks ago. None of us, not even the most muscular, could have accomplished much on their own, but we all pitched in with joyful teamwork, and the dream worked – transformed grounds and courtyard— in just two days’ time!
We also have Jesus Himself to partner with us, since a lot of life requires more than we can handle on our own, or even with other people who also have limited ability. He told us “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” (Mat. 11:28-29) Meaning, team up with Him— He’ll shoulder the lion’s share of the load. This sure beats knocking ourselves out for nothing.
The bigger the dream, the more we need the team!