MVP. Champion. 1st place. Best overall.
These are all titles that so many strive for. In this day and hour, being the best of the best and better than everyone else seems to be the main goal, no matter the cost. The clamor to the top to be number one is the ultimate prize. Even within the church it’s happening.
I sing better, I should get the solos.
I dress better, I need to be seen.
I’m better at this job, I deserve the position.
I speak better. I teach better. My talent supersedes theirs. Let’s hover right here a moment and remember what Jesus said about first and last, winners and losers. In Matthew 16:20 He said, “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” Many, many people have talents. I believe they’re God given, and He gave them for us to use for His glory. Talent isn’t what brings God glory; it isn’t what moves a hungry heart; it isn’t what ushers the heavenly into the atmosphere of the fleshly. Anointing does those things. To have talent and no anointing is like being called but not chosen.
Anointing comes from a spirit willing to come in last, willing to give all to bring God the glory He deserves. We can’t always be first and be anointed. Sometimes anointing comes in last place, when we’ve been looked over, chosen last, and put on the back row. Talent may eventually get you to the front row, but anointing brings the glory down. It’s not enough to be talented if that talent isn’t turned over to God and used by Him, for Him, and infused with the anointing that only He can give.
My daughter has a saying that she uses often, especially on her brothers. “Teamwork makes the dream work.”, she reminds them. How true it is! While we can accomplish many things on our own, working with others in a team fashion can get us so many more places. Every person on a team has talent and ability, and they all play a major role in making that team function. Each one has a position or a place where they excel. On their own they are good, but together they become great and accomplish things they never could have done on their own.
When we start leaning on ourselves and our own single talent rather than being a part of the team, it leads us to what my pastor always calls ‘stinkin' thinkin’. If the first become last in the kingdom, and the last become the first, who cares who is the best? Stinkin' thinkin' cares. It causes us to look around at the inadequacies in others and focus on how much ‘better’ we are. When our thinkin' stinks, we start elbowing our way to the top, believing that we are better and deserve to be there. It is no longer about the team, but about me. What can I do? What can I accomplish? How can anointing flow through a vessel that’s so full of itself that it lends no room for the anointing to enter in?
The kingdom is a team. The church is a team. Not a church, the church. The body of Christ as a whole is a huge, multi-talented team of people that should be putting Christ first and self second. When we do that, we open up so much space inside ourselves for the anointing to move and for God to have His way. It’s easy to sing about giving our life away, that our life is not our own, but can we live what we sing? Do we practice what we preach, so to speak? The person next to you ain’t your competitor, they’re your teammate. The person who shares the same talent as you ain’t your rival, they’re your teammate. Play into your talents and roles and build one another. Help them sharpen their skills and allow them to sharpen yours. Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Don’t be a butter knife friend and dull those around you. Be iron and sharpen those around you. Stay sharp. Not to cut your teammates down, but to lift them up and help them become the best they can be.
Teamwork makes the dream work, friends. We’re all on the same team here. I won’t fight you for first place, but I may push awfully hard to come in last. We may lose everything according to this world’s standards, but we always win when we put Jesus Christ and His plan ahead of our own.