The Spirit of Cooperation
Wayne M. Balcar
Jesus often taught in parables. These were easily understood
stories that had significant spiritual meaning.
Even today, the Lord will use our present circumstances to
speak to us. For example, in my role as a tennis coach, I
find the Lord showing me some very important parallels between
a tennis team and the functioning of the Body of Christ.
Tennis is a sport in which it is very difficult for a coach
to balance individual abilities with team unity. How true
this is in the Body of Christ. As a Christian, each one of
us has an individual personal relationship with the Lord on
different levels of experience.
Jesus calls us as an individual to be united with, and function
within a corporate Body. He does not ask us to relinquish
our individuality, but He asks us to cultivate our relationship
with Him while at the same time, we develop relationships
In tennis, it is crucial that each player practices both
with the team and on their own. Sometimes only the team leader
sees the importance of this practice. If some members of the
team fail to practice, it affects the team in several ways.
During a match, it is very evident which players are unprepared.
Not only do they usually lose, but it also frustrates those
who have prepared.
The Body of Christ is also affected when some members have
not set aside enough time to prepare themselves through prayer,
meditation, and Bible study. In a church service, due to this
lack of preparation, they miss receiving the blessings which
the Lord intended them to receive. And along with this, it
becomes more difficult for others to enter in and receive.
Again, in tennis there are those who remain on the bench
and as a result, feel very insignificant. These do not realize
that it may be their lack of practice that keeps them there.
Should there arise a need for them to replace someone on the
team, again the whole team suffers.
This holds true for those in the Body of Christ who find
themselves "on the shelf." We should examine the
reason we are there, and then seek the Lord as much as we
would in full time ministry. If we have been set aside by
the Lord, it is not His will for us to remain there. If we
miss His call due to our negligence, we may remain on the
shelf longer than intended.
Finally, I require my team to maintain a good attitude and
play the same way regardless of the score. Likewise, the Christian
must continue to press into God regardless of the situation
in which he finds himself.
I encourage the players during a match and remind them of
the key things they need to remember. In the Body of Christ,
not only must we cultivate our individual relationship with
the Lord, but it is of vital importance that we encourage
and seek to build up each other in the functioning of the
Then, we will be good players on God's team.