Looking out for each Other


Sometimes a caravan of travelers will be in the dusty, hot, dry desert, and about to perish for want of water. When this happens they will let one of the camels go. The instincts in this animal will lead him to refreshing waters. When the animal moves nearly out of sight one of the men will mount his camel and follow. When he is about to be out of sight another will do the same. When the camel discovers the water the man following on the camel will turn and wave to the second; the second to the third, and so on, until everyone has gathered at the fresh water. That’s looking out for each other!

My C-Wish List

C-Wish List? Hope it caught your attention and dispatched you into the land of Wonder. I’m not talking about my birthday wish list. I’ve been too busy to even jot down my Christmas wish list. My thoughts have been captivated with the C-Wish List; the list of characteristics I look for in a team member.

What is it that I expect from a team member? Each characteristic, as you will notice, begins with the letter “c” so I have penned it my C-Wish List. I have not placed them in order of importance.

  1. Character: indispensable in any team effort. Much has been written on the subject. Sufficient to say, members of the Global Missions team need to be men and women of integrity and can be counted upon always to do what is right in God’s sight.
  2. Compatible: studies have shown that the ability to get along with others is even more desired than skills. Chemistry and a kindred spirit are essential to a good working relationship. We won’t agree on everything and that’s healthy. Conflict happens but compatibility helps rescue the day.
  3. Creative: Anyone can be critical. I wish for team members that are creative and constructive. Finding faults and problems are not signs of spiritual gifting. But, someone that can identify a problem and chart the solution is a proverbial breath of fresh air for any leader.
  4. Consistent: I’m not looking for a fly-by-night or a seven-day-wonder. Can the team person produce over the long haul? Does he/she have a track record of being consistent in achieving good things for the kingdom?
  5. Confidentiality: In leadership we see people at their best and at their worst. People trust us to give proper advice, counsel, an understanding compassionate ear, and to keep things confidential. I need team members that will watch my back so as to speak, and when I say, “This is confidential” I know that is exactly where it will stay.
  6. Credible: Solid relationships are built on trust. Team members should be trustworthy and reliable. In delegating tasks and assignments I need those that will do it, and do it to the best of their ability. They can be counted on to do what counts, when it counts, and how it counts.
  7. Cross-cultural communicator: In global missions the ability to communicate cross-culturally, correctly and clearly is a definite advantage.
  8. Compassionate: I’ve always said that I wouldn’t want to work with someone that isn’t compassionate. That isn’t the same as being a pushover, by the way. Like it is often quoted, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care?” Even tough decisions can be issued in a compassionate manner. I could add “caring” but it’s basically the same thing.
  9. Completion: A good team member exists not to compete but to complete. Everyone has weaknesses and strengths. I want team members that cover areas that I may be weak. We don’t need everyone possessing the same skill-set.
  10. Capacity: Does the team member have a teachable attitude and a willingness to learn and expand? We live in an ever-changing, ever-developing environment and must be willing to change and to learn new methods and skills.
  11. Conscientious: The team member should have a built in quest for excellence. I’m not real big on mistakes. Yes, they do happen, but should be kept to a minimum. And when a mistake does happen, one should admit it, correct it, and move on.
  12. Courtesy: All team members should be respectful, diplomatic, and treat people as they would want to be treated. Sometimes, we are like two porcupines out in the cold: we need each other and we needle each other. Yet, team members should be courteous.
  13. Call: Like I said, these are not in the order of importance. If they were, this should be moved closer to the top. Team members need to know assuredly that they are in the will of God and that they are called to the team for such a time as this. It is a safe anchor in times of confusion and chaos.
  14. Credentials: Team members should have credentials, characteristics, and experience equal to the requirements of the job description they hold.
  15. Compromise: We can’t have our own way all the time. Team members need to be willing to compromise for the common good of others or be conciliatory to the united decisions and desires of the team. At the same time, one should never compromise convictions or move away from apostolic doctrine. Of course, that should never happen in Global Missions anyway.

Stopping there is probably best. I don’t want to tire you in wading through a longer wish list. Here’s your homework.

  1. Go through the wish list and verify characteristics you want for any of your team members?
  2. Go back through doing a personal inventory. Score yourself. Are you a good team member?
  3. Share the list with those that work on your team in your area of the world. People have the tendency to rise to your level of expectation.

My heart’s desire is that each of us would strive to implement the fifteen characteristics above as we endeavor to be team members together with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

A Lesson From The Trees

Our association with others can either lift us up or pull us down. Let us learn a lesson from the trees. The world’s largest tree (and one of the world’s oldest) is the Coast Redwood (of California). It grows from a seed that is no larger than the one from a tomato. It rises like a skyscraper (tall, towering building) to 367 feet (122 m). These trees can live for more than two thousand years.

These natural giants have an attention-grabbing root system. (Trees are held in place by anchoring organs called “roots.” Roots grow constantly. We are to be rooted in the Word of God.)

The roots of the redwood only go down 10-13 feet deep (3-4 m) before they spread 60-80 feet (20-27 m). How can such a tall tree with such a shallow root system withstand the wind? The roots often entangle with neighboring trees. This provides for greater stability. The trees grow close together and gain strength from being a forest. Through growing together and networking with other members of the body, we have the strength of the combined body. We become stronger through our association with each other. We also become grounded and settled in God’s Word.

“Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Don’t let anyone lead you stray with empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking…” (Colossians 2:7-8, NLT).

You now have a hint of the down side to these close relationships. Because the roots are entangled or fused together, it is conceivable that when disease strikes, it can spread throughout the common root system, as is common with the oak tree. The root systems of oak trees within fifty feet of each other can become grafted together. If one tree becomes infected, the disease can easily move from tree to tree.

“It takes only one wrong person among you to infect all the others—a little yeast spreads quickly through the whole batch of dough! I am trusting the Lord to bring you back to believing as I do about these things. God will judge that person, whoever it is, who has been troubling and confusing you” (Galatians 5:9-10, NLT).

Our association with others can build us up, or pull us down. It has often been said that if you show me your associates, I can tell you a lot about your personal character. We are like those we hang around.

photo credit: ex.libris via photo pin cc

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