“I feel like you’re always working against me!” I complained to my kids. “I wipe up the mess you made on the counter, turn around, and you make a new mess! I clear your papers from the table, and you leave your toys on the carpet! If we could work together on the same team with the same goal of keeping the house at least somewhat tidy, it would make life a whole lot easier!”
They listen dutifully, then go and play.
I look at them through the window now. It hasn’t stopped snowing today. A slow, steady snowfall with light, fluffy flakes. They’ve been begging to go outside for days. Finally, I open the door and set them free.
They’ve been outside for over an hour.
I watch them through the kitchen window and marvel, “Wow. Nobody has come in crying yet.” Usually at least one of the three comes stomping in with fresh tears on red cheeks, “He threw a snowball at me and it hit me in the FACE!”
But today, they’re working together. They’re crouched low, gathering heaps of snow into mounds.
They’re building something. Together.
They’re playing on the same team, not against each other.
And it’s lasting.
And I think to myself, “If only all of life were like this.”
I let myself imagine what it would be like if everyone were playing on the same team. What if we were all working together toward the same goal? How different would the world look?
I think of dear online friends like Deidra Riggs, Trillia Newbell, and Thabiti and Kristie Anyabwile, who are out there laboring in the cold, fashioning bricks out of tiny snowflakes, heaving one on top of the other. They’re building the kingdom of God with the work of their hands. Brick upon brick, they’re doing all they can to promote racial unity in diversity.
I think of some who have looked at their efforts and thrown snowballs right into their faces.
But Deidra, Trillia, and the Anyabwiles — they haven’t come in crying.
They’ve brushed the wetness off their faces, and turned back to their work.
What if we joined them? What if we pulled on our snow pants, our boots and our gloves and got to work alongside them?
What if we wiped up our own messes in the kitchen, instead of leaving someone else to do it for us?
Don’t you think that would make life so much easier?
Don’t you think it would diffuse the frustration and leave fewer people in tears?
If we really stopped to think about it, maybe we’d realize we’re already on the same team.
Brown, white, caramel, bronze — together, we make up the human race, and we’re all fighting for life.
You and I, and your neighbor and my neighbor, and your boss and your mother-in-law, and that guy who works at the gas station — we all bear the image of God. Every single one of us has been made in His image.
“In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22).
So let’s stop leaving our messes on the counter for someone else to wipe up, and let’s stop throwing snowballs in each other’s faces. Because when we work together, on the same team, the kingdom is built, brick by snowy brick.
And by the grace of God, it lasts.
Recommended Resources: (affiliate links used)
Reviving the Black Church: New Life for a Sacred Institution, by Thabiti Anyabwile
Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are, by Deidra Riggs (click here for a video interview)
What about you? When and where have you been struck by people working well together? How have you seen teamwork at its best?