The game is played as follows. There are four on a team. All of you get to tee off. You then select the best tee shot. From there, all but the person who hit that tee shot gets to hit the second shot. You then select the best second shot, and all (except the person who hit that shot) hit the next shot. This procedure continues until someone is on the green, at which point all team members get to putt.
Clear as mud, right? Sorry. But the point can still be made without a full understanding of the golf game. The reason for having a player step away and not play the next shot is so that one person on the team doesn’t dominate, that the team’s final score is not the result of one person’s ability but the result of a true team effort.
Sometimes this concept is lost in other areas of our lives, such as the workplace or in the Christian community where two scenarios emerge. First, many of us are content with letting one person do all the work. After all, they are doing a great job, better than we could have done. They are the better “player” (speaker, writer, theologian, mathematician, etc.). Second, the “better player” often likes the attention and accolades. Likes being relied upon. Likes being the stalwart of the team.
But both are problematic as one fosters weakness and the second, pride.
The Bible is full of reminders of people working in tandem or as a team: Moses had Aaron, Paul had Barnabas, and even Jesus had his twelve.
When the Corinthians were aligning themselves behind a particular man, Paul reminded them of not only the interconnection of the workers, but on God’s ultimate control over all.
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (I Corinthians 3:6-7).
When this same group of people wanted to elevate the importance of some Christians over others, Paul again had to remind them that “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12).
And when each member doesn’t take his or her part, or share responsibility with others, then everyone suffers as we see twice with Moses. The first is in Exodus 17 when his raised arms in prayer grow weary and he needs assistance from Aaron and Hur to hold them up in order to insure victory for the Israeli army; and then in Exodus 18 when he was trying to handle all the people’s disputes on his own, and his father-in-law advised him to share the responsibility. Not only did such a move improve Moses’s health, but it empowered others and allowed disputes to be handled more efficiently.
So where do you fall on the “step up” or “step aside” spectrum? Remember, we are meant to work in community, to share responsibilities not to shirk them nor to selfishly hang on to them.