Paul begins his letter to the church in Philippi, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5). Paul found joy in his partnership with others and the purpose which bound them together. Paul understood what it means to be a team, “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose” (Philippians 2:5).
There was no better coach in basketball than John Wooden. He had the stars, but that’s not why he won. He understood the team and the game. “No UCLA basketball player’s number was retired while I was coach, not because there weren’t outstanding players, but because other fellows who played on our team also wore those numbers.” Wooden argued, “The star of our team is the team.”
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” wrote Paul (Philippians 2:3-4). Wooden would agree, “A player who makes the team great is more valuable than a great player.” Christianity is a team sport. Our joy in following Jesus is found through our partnership with the team, the church, “being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:2), and the purpose of the game, “to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11).
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 2:5
God, Your ways are so beyond me. You are holy and good and just and righteous. I am a sinner, yet You came for me. My world does not work that way. Yours does. In my world, I chase what matters to me. In Your world, You chase… me! And everyone else!! You are the one who pursues, who seeks us and saves us, and You left everything to do it.
What kind of love is that? It’s a love I want more than anything in the world. It is Your love that compels me to leave everything and follow You. I can truly love others because You first loved me.