There's a saying that goes 'Coming together is beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success'. As a church, as a family, there is no one greater or smaller - it's just that each one of us has different roles to play. What is the role that we play in God's family? No matter who we are - teen or preteen or single or married, widow, pioneer (been a disciple for 10 years or more) - we have a role to play in God's kingdom. If only a few of us in the family are working hard then soon we wont feel like this is our family. Then instead of being a part of the family we'll start finding faults with our family. Let us take a bird as an example and scripture as foundation and learn something about teamwork this morning.
There's this bird called 'goose' which we all would have seen. Wild geese fly thousands of kilometers, time and again. That's how God has made the wild goose. How these birds work together as a team is very much like what the scriptures call us to. Generally, in fellowship we have this problem called the 'somebody' problem. There are a lot of needs in the church. For example when we think about who is going to do the ushering, the answer is 'somebody' will do it. Who's going to help out in KKC? 'Somebody' will do it. Everybody is thinking about 'somebody' and at the end of the day nobody is doing what we are supposed to do. We all need to have an attitude of 'what can I do for God's kingdom, for God's family?' That will make a big difference in the way we come together and work together for God's kingdom.
1. Fly Together
If we've looked up at the sky and seen geese flying we would have noticed that they fly in one particular pattern. They fly in a 'V' pattern. We may think whatever pattern they fly it doesn't make a difference. Research has found that there is incredible scientific reason for the way these geese fly in 'V' formation. Amazingly, it has been found that where one bird flying alone can fly, say, 10 kilometers birds flying together in 'V' formation can get up to 71% extra strength to fly. That means they can cross at least 70km together if they fly as a group. And because they have to cross thousands of kilometers, geese have to stick to the 'V' formation to get to their destination. If a goose falls out of the 'V' pattern, it has to get back quickly into the "V' otherwise the flock wont make it. And they take advantage of each other's flying skills to make their destination. Isn't it amazing that if they tried to accomplish this on their own they would never be able to make it? They will reach their destination only if they fly together.
14 He appointed twelve--designating them apostles --that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach
15 and to have authority to drive out demons.
He appointed twelve--designating them apostles --that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.
Even as Jesus was starting his mission in this world, he found a team for himself so that they could be with him and do the work that he wanted them to do. When Jesus left the world - as we see in Acts 1 - he didn't leave individual, scattered disciples. The fact is he left a group of committed disciples to do His work. We live as a family is God's plan. Though being a Christian is a personal commitment, for the journey of Christian life we need a Christian fellowship.
At times we can think, 'Why should I be in a Christian fellowship? If I'm alone I can do whatever I want. There will be no pressure of 'giving''. At times even smiling can be hard work. We've got to smile at all the disciples, give them a hug, say 'hello' - at times we can feel that we want to be away from all these things, that we want to be alone. 'If I come in, I have to adjust, I have to commit, I have to answer a lot of questions'.
A lot of things can go through our minds and sometimes we just want to be alone and not be part of a fellowship. Many times we don't realize how much we have progressed in our Christian lives, how much we have been built up, how much we have received just being in God's family. The strength of the Christian fellowship has carried us a long way in our Christian journey. The goose that falls out of the group feels the pressure around it and it feels the desperation to get back into the group immediately.
In the same way, if we fall out of this Christian fellowship - probably being spiritual will take some time - it's time to fall back into the fellowship because that's where we will find the strength (second to strength received from God) to move on in our Christian lives. The more we delay the harder it will be to catch up to the fellowship.
The question we need to ask ourselveis is are we flying alone? Are we grateful for how much God's fellowship has enriched us as an individual. It's an incredible thing to have God's family and without this family Christian journey is going to be very challenging.
..then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
1 Corinthians 1:10
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
What makes geese fly together is that they all know they all have only one destination. When we got baptized we were all like-minded. We all wanted to go to heaven, we all wanted to help people to become disciples, and we wanted to help one another to become like Jesus. If we lose this purpose and mission in our lives it will be very hard to fly together.
The reason why many times we get frustrated to be part of the fellowship and continue to be in God's family is that our purpose and mission has changed. And when that changes you will definitely feel the frustration because the rest of God's family is flying towards a particular destination that God wants it to. We can have differences in other areas but we cannot have differences in purpose and mission. Otherwise eventually we will fall out of God's fellowship. There is incredible strength in all of us flying together.
2. Share With Others
These geese fly together in 'V' pattern and after two kilometers suddenly the goose at the tip of the "V" will do a somersault and goes behind while another goose takes it's place at the tip of the formation. Why? Because the bird at the tip of the 'V' faces a lot of pressure and it cannot face it for a long time because it will get burnt out. So from time to time this bird at the tip is replaced by others that take the pressure of moving the flock forward.
The amazing thing is that while they are flying we can hear them crying 'honk, honk' which is actually the birds at the back encouraging the one at the tip saying, 'you can do it, you can do it, keep flying'. Like we say, 'come on, bro. You can do it, bro'. Well, if only a few people are going to be doing everything in the church soon they'll get burnt out. Soon they'll get discouraged and we'll be saying, 'Bro, why are you so discouraged. You used to be so fired up!' If only a few people are going to be doing everything in the church, they'll soon get discouraged. Their families will be hurting. Their health is going to hurt, everything is going to hurt.
Family is God's design for us to share with one another what God has given us. Sometimes we don't want to ask, 'Bro what's happening with this situation' because we'll be made responsible for it. So we come with, 'Hi, bro. Awesome, bro' and just go off. We can't do that. We can't build a great church like that unless we share what we have. Sharing should not be restricted to money. There are so many things God has given to us that we can share with one another.
2 Corinthians 7:7
...and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
The Bible says that whatever we do we do for Jesus. When the church was small there were not many needs. But when the church grows bigger and bigger a lot of needs arise. Whenever a need arises God have already provided the help that is needed within the church itself. Each one of us is unique in the way we are. And I believe that each one of us here has unique talents which are destined for specific service in God's kingdom. The different ministries we can get involved is, KKC Ministry, Pre-teens Ministry, Teens Ministry, Campus Ministry, Youth Ministry?? The church is going to be even more awesome when we all put together our talents on the altar of God to serve God.
3. Care for each other
Going back to the geese, if one of the birds falls sick or is shot down, immediately two other geese split away from the flying flock and travel down alongside the one that is falling and sit beside it until it either gets better or dies. If it dies, the two geese fly back up to join the flock but if the goose gets better they help it to fly back to join the rest. Geese understand that they must stand by each other in times of need. I believe that we need to stand by each other.
Today if somebody is going through a hard time tomorrow may be our turn. We've got to stand by each other. We cannot just fly on our own. One day we'll be shot or fall sick. We must stand by each other in good times and bad times. When the church was going through some hard times in the past few years how was our attitude? Were we standing by the church saying, 'I'm here to serve'? There may be differences but we can always sit down and talk and sort it out. But what is our attitude? Are we going to stand by the church and help or are we going to draw back and blame people for different things that are happening?
There was a group of travelers who were travelling through a cold region. One of them fell down unable to go further. No one wanted to help this man because they felt he would hamper their progress and finally they also would not be able to make it. One man felt compassion for the fallen and decided to carry him as far as he could even though he knew it was going to be difficult. When they reached their destination the man realized that no one else who had traveled with him had made it.
Amazingly, the cold which had killed all those who traveled alone had done nothing to him because by carrying the sick man their combined body warmth had kept both of them alive and strong to reach their destination. Everyone who traveled alone could not reach their destination. We have a cold world outside. The only way we're going to make our journey in that cold world is if we carry each other in times of struggle. The way to make it is not on our own because we'll be lost and killed in this cold world.
The only way is to carry each other in good times or bad and that way we'll see our journey's end. The geese understand that they need the group because if one goose falls out the group may struggle a little bit but it will still go on. In the same way, if we are struggling today and if we fall out, we are going to be the loser and not the church. The church will move on. God will strengthen the church but don't forget we have a role to play as much as the church has a role to play in our life.
So let's fly together. Let's share with each other. Let's care for others. Let's learn from God's creation - the goose. One day we'll all be together in heaven. Let's work as a team, let's build this church, let's bring glory to God.