Two Questions to Ask Before Your Next MeetingBlog / Produced by The High Calling
Do nothing out of selfish ambition, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus . . .
Phil. 2:3-5 (NIV)
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit in the desert to be tempted by the devil.
Team building is tough. People bring such different attitudes with them to the team. A while ago, I met with a cynical friend of mine who served on a team with me in our church. I reminded him that he’d missed the last three meetings. He told me he was feeling disillusioned with our team. “I don’t see the point in going to meetings if my ideas are going to be pushed aside all the time.” And then he added, “And you’re probably the worst offender!”
I encouraged him to hang in there since we needed everyone on board to finish our project. “Don’t forget,” I said, “There’s no I in TEAM.”
“Yeah,” he said, “and there’s no U, either!”
Paul challenges us to bring more than just a good attitude to the teams we serve on. We should bring the attitude of Jesus. He did nothing out of selfish ambition, but always sought to do the Father’s will. He expressed humility in his obedience to the Father, even to the point of experiencing a humiliating death on a cross. The nature of Jesus is very different from ours, but as Paul confirms, we can and should all have the same humble servant attitude Jesus had.
From this perspective, the temptations Jesus faced at the outset of his ministry become more important for us (see Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). Rather than demonstrations of Jesus’ divinity, these temptations were keenly human moments for Jesus when Satan challenged his attitude and ministry. In each of the three temptations, Jesus faced a choice between selfish ambition or humble service to God and others. He drew on the Bible as a source of strength, and every one of us can, too.
By overcoming selfish ambition, Jesus leads the way for us, modeling true greatness that comes only by serving God and others first. Paul doesn’t say it’s wrong to have ambition; the problem is selfish ambition. Is there another kind of ambition? Yes! Throughout the Old Testament, we can find men and women who were “zealous” for the Lord. Elsewhere in his letters, Paul appeals to our competitive nature when he exhorts us to “outdo one another in serving.” In other words, don’t let anyone outserve you. Above all, we see it in the life of Jesus, who humbled himself even to death on the cross.
In his wonderful little book on leadership, In the Name of Jesus, the late Henri Nouwen wrote:
Too often I looked at being relevant, popular and powerful as ingredients of an effective ministry. The truth, however, is that these are not vocations but temptations. [Jesus] asks us to move from a concern for relevance to a life of prayer, from worries about popularity to communal and mutual ministry, and from leadership built on power to a leadership in which we critically discern where God is leading us.
Our supervisors have the right to tell us what to do on the job (within reason, of course). They have the right to tell us how to get the job done. But we decide what our attitudes will be at work. Will you seek to have the attitude of Jesus? Or will you look out for number one? Think carefully. How you answer those two questions will determine the course of your next team meeting.