When you can't be a team player

July 31, 2019

Life is filled with moving from one team to another.  We are conceived into the team of human nature, we are born into team family and then along the way we are transferred from one team to another.  Team marriage (which may come with a bench called kids), team work, team sports, team church, etc.  Regardless of the teams we find ourselves on at the current time, we will have moments when it is not possible to be a team player.  It is during these times we must remember what God asks of us and be the best player we can be on the team.


As a younger man, I was blessed with getting to work with my childhood best friend on a team we co-founded called GalleryWatch.  We sold our personal belongings, lived at our office, worked long hours without pay and built GalleryWatch into a national company with offices all over the US. We had a great team which helped us navigate the pitfalls of business.  We were surfing the dotcom wave and had made it to one week before being funded with $60 million in growth capital.  It was at this point, the wheels came off as the dotcom bubble burst around the country and we were caught up in the downward spiral.


The result of the destruction was we found ourselves owning very little of our own company and no longer being in control. I was replaced by a new president and given a place on the bench of business.  My partners either lost their jobs or placed in other meaningless roles.  I was still on team GalleryWatch but the players had changed, the culture had shifted and going to work was no longer an adventure, it was actually painful.  The new management had zero concern for the employees and were solely focused on selling the company. 


Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”

Matthew 26:52-54

Jesus was the ultimate team player and he too found himself in situations where being a team player was difficult.  He had those who deserted him, others who betrayed him, and many who failed him. However, his first reaction was not to leave the team. Instead, he showed us how to be the best player you can be on even a dysfunctional team.  In Matthew 26, Jesus tells those around him to focus on the team goal (fulfilling God's will) and to do so through doing what is right regardless of what others were doing wrong.  Jesus is setting the example of being the best player on the team.


When we find ourselves surrounded by teammates who are not doing the righteous thing then, ever more, we need to draw closer to God and set the example of what is right.  We must become the best player we can be on the team regardless of the poor choices made by our teammates and leadership.  Through prayer and supplication we can best discern where God want's us and how we can better his kingdom.


Team GalleryWatch was ultimately sold and I was not on board at the sale. However, I was able to assist many of my fellow teammates find a better home or to help them obtain secure employment in the transition.  God showed me how to work with people with whom I had little respect.  He showed me how I still had a role to play which was greater than myself.  It has been a lesson which I draw on in many situations and I pray one which you will learn as well.





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