My mind often reflects upon the twenty years of my life, eight as a player and twelve as a coach, when I was consumed with athletics. Memories of two a day practices, smelly locker rooms,and sore muscles remind me that hard work is necessary for success. However, the greatest lesson athletics taught me was that great teams were not great because of their star power but because of their teamwork.
This truth was drilled into me while I coached at Woodruff High School under legendary Coach W.L. Varner. During my six years, we won four conference championships, two upper state championships and one state championship. My final season, we went twelve and two and won the state championship. This was not unusual for Woodruff at the time. It was expected by the community and demanded by Coach Varner.
Contrary to what most people thought, we didn’t have that many great athletes. We had many good athletes but Coach Varner would not allow us to have stars. No matter a player’s talent level, there was no special treatment. When it came time to run the opposing team’s offense against our defense, the starters on offensive took their turns running the ball like everyone else. When the game was over on Friday night, win or lose, everyone knew that it was a team effort. The one who blocked for extra point attempts felt just as important as the one who scored the touchdowns. There were no stars.
This lesson carries over into life. Teamwork eventually out performs star power. It is true in the work place and it is especially true in the church. In fact, the bible makes it clear that there are to be no stars on God’s team. The Apostle Peter wrote these words, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to who belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever, Amen.” (I Peter 4:10, 11 NASB). From this scripture it is clear that God gives the talent and the assignment. It is equally true God deserves the praise, leaving no room for stars.
From the following account from John Wesley’s life, found in the book, 33 Laws of Stewardship, it would appear Wesley understood this truth. When he was approached by a young man who felt his service to the church was unimportant, Wesley responded “Sir, we are building God’s temple. Go now and read the third chapter of Nehemiah and learn that he who repaired the dung gate was counted of as much honor as he who worked on the gate of the fountain. All did their bit; you and I can do no more.”
The point in all of this is that everyone in God’s church is important. There is no partiality with God. There are no little jobs. There are no stars, only stewards of the grace that God has given to us.