Working in Teams and Good Teamwork

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Let’s read first the book of Mark chapter 3 verses 13 to 19 from the New International Bible version (Mark 3:13-19 NIV). And this is what it says, “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to Him those He wanted, and they came to Him. He appointed twelve that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve He appointed: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.”

As the Bible passage above says, Jesus had a team of twelve disciples who He appointed to constantly be with Him. The Bible says, He also had other disciples, but the’Twelve Disciples’ were Jesus’s special team or group. And I am sure He had a good and purposely reason why He decided to recruit only twelve special disciples, and not ten or fifteen, or thirty, and so on. I have heard few pastors who have preached about the reasons why, may be next time I will get a good chance to incorporate all the information.

Jesus’ recruitment was different, and definitely not the way we traditionally recruit people for jobs and other endeavors in our current era. There were no job advertisements, interviews, proof of education for each member of His team, background check,..hahaha.

For us who have been able to read the four gospels of the Bible we can say each of the twelve disciples must had some kind of talents, skills, strengths, and necessary weaknesses to help Jesus to fulfill His mission on this planet earth. There was Matthew or Levi, who had technical skills of a taxi collector; there were more than four fishermen who had technical skills to catch fish – Simon Peter, Andrew, John, and James, and the rest of disciples they also must had some kind of background experiences, qualifications, skills, characters, influence, and so on.

In the book of Matthew chapter 4 verses 18 to 22, from New International Bible version (Matthew 4:18-22 NIV) it says, “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.

And the book of Mark chapter 2 verses 13 to 17 NIV says; “Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to Him, and He began to teach them. As He walked along, He saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed Him. While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Him and His disciples, for there were many who followed Him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw Him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked His disciples: “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The most interesting and sad recruitment of them all had to be of Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ disciples. It’s a sad story, but again, may be Jesus wanted us to learn something from this disciple. The Bible says before He selected Judas Iscariot to be His disciple; Jesus knew he was going to betray Him. He kept Judas to be part of the team and needed him because Judas Iscariot was going to help Jesus fulfill His prophecy of being betrayed by a person who was very close to Him.

This is what it says in John 13:18-22 in Amplified Bible version; “I am not speaking of all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but [this has happened] in order that the Scripture may be fulfilled: ‘He who eats My bread has raised up his heel against Me [as My enemy].’ From now on I am telling you [what will happen] before it occurs, so that when it does take place you may believe that I am He [who I say I am—the Christ, the Anointed, the Messiah]. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, the one who receives and welcomes whomever I send receives Me; and the one who receives Me receives Him who sent Me [in that same way]. After Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, one of you will betray Me and hand Me over.” The disciples began looking at one another, puzzled and disturbed as to whom He could mean.”

John chapter 17 verse 12 says when Jesus was praying to God the Father, He said this; “While I was with them, I protected them by the authority that you gave Me. I guarded them, and not one of them became lost except the one who was destined for destruction, so that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”

From this passage we know there was a possibility that Jesus could have protected and guarded Judas Iscariot like the rest of His appointed disciples from being lost and being used by Satan to betray Him, but again somebody had to be the devil’s advocate, so that the prophecy and mission of Jesus must be fulfilled.

In John chapter 6 verses 70 and 71 reading from New King James version, it says; “Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.”

Could it be possible for Jesus to go to the cross and fulfill His purpose and mission here on earth without Judas’ betraying Him? Or get someone from outside the team, or someone who was not very close to betray Him. Perhaps, may be if God wanted to made it that way, the old prophecy would have written differently. Perhaps, God wanted to show us, Satan or the devil, the so called opponent or enemy of God, can use even the closest people in your life to betray you, not necessarily the outsiders. Like Joseph in the Old Testament of the Bible who was betrayed by his closest members of the family. In Genesis chapter 50 verse 20 he said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended if for my good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

The way I see it, I think it’s better to have enemies who honestly say they hate you than to have a friend putting you down secretly. Mmh..it is true when they say, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” but the problem nowadays you can’t tell them apart. You don’t know which is who. Now, enough with betrayal part, let’s find out what we can learn from Judas Iscariot.

Jesus knew we were going to read about Him and learn from His teachings and life. Even His twelve disciples that He chose, each one was different. May be He wanted us to relate to them as we read them so that we can examine ourselves through their lives and characters, their strengths and weaknesses, in order to learn from them also.

Not only we learn from Judas Iscariot that in life there are going to be some people who are going to betray us, so this shouldn’t be a surprise to us, but another thing we can learn from Judas Iscariot is that as a company or organization, we need to recruit or hire people wisely.

One, make sure those you recruit will be able to support your company’s mission, vision, and goals. They must be qualified for the positions you are hiring them for. Not just the technical skills, conceptual decision skills, but also interpersonal and communication skills.

It is very essential to have the best team that supports you. If you ask business owners or people at higher management levels and they will tell you, two of the keys among so many to have a successful and excelling business and organization are; one, to hire and have the best team of high qualified people with necessary talents, skills, and knowledge; and two, to strive to make the work environment better for them so that they can be more productive, efficient, and effectively, and hence more successful to support and fulfill the missions of your businesses and organizations.

The second key will help them take ownership of their jobs and become reliable teams of employees that you can count on to get the job done, meet deadlines, and provide good quality work with excellent performance by going extra miles and involved more for the best of the business and organization.

What else the Bible tells about Judas Iscariot? He was the treasurer of the group of disciples and Jesus, we can read this from the book of John chapter 13 verses 27 to 29, in Amplified Bible it says, “After [Judas had taken] the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly [without delay].” But no one reclining at the table knew why He said this to him. Some thought that, since Judas [as the treasurer of the group] had the money box, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he was to give something to the poor.”

Apart from Judas being a person appointed to administer or manage the financial assets and liabilities of Jesus’ team, he was also some kind of an economist, but greedy person. Though he loved Jesus, but he loved money more to the point to betrayed Jesus for it.

The book of John chapter 12 verses 3 to 8 New King James Bible version says, “Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”

Matthew 26:14-16 NKJV says, “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.”

A second thing we can learn from Judas Iscariot, as a company, organization, or firm, it’s necessary to set ethics and codes of conduct that each employee must follow, because not everyone you will hire is going to behave accordingly.

When people come to work, they come with their own behaviors that they have established through their entire lives. Some of these behaviors may be ethical and some unethical, depending on how they have been raised and their backgrounds of where they come from, and the values they live by.

This is why companies spend so much time and money offering ethics courses to their employees so that these employees they will know what these companies expect them to act and react within the organizations. Most companies do have a guide and list of ethics or certain moral behaviors that are mandatory for all employees to follow, or else there will be serious consequences taken against those failed to follow.

One of the reasons to establish work ethics within organization is that, these companies want to make sure the work environment is suitable for everyone to work.  Things like sexual harassments, invading others privacy, racisms, and et cetera, they make the work environment uneasy to be productive and have peace of mind.

Another reason why companies establish business ethics is because they want to make sure their employees are not abusing companies’ resources. Companies expect employees to have integrity by doing right things all the time even when no one is watching them.

Nowadays we work with diversity of people from all over the world who happen to vary in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, and et cetera. By setting work ethics, companies do make sure the work environment protects everyone’s regardless of where they are coming from.

We also learned that there are some things or missions you can’t achieve alone; you need other people’s support, expertise, and so on. You need teams and teamwork.

We have learned from Jesus that in order to achieve some missions’ efforts to get them to mission accomplished, especially the big ones, it’s going to require teamwork, and we need to work in teams. The better our teams are, the more successful we will be able to accomplish our visions and missions, and also our companies and organizations will thrive.

Some organizations or companies are big, and so they have a big team of people. Therefore, it is important for them to build teams within teams. It’s important for them to having smaller teams as subset of a bigger team.

In most organizations’ structures, a team can be a section which is part of a department which is part of a division and so on. Each organizational unit is a team, where eventually the whole organization is one big team.

A team can also be small, less than five people, or even two people contributing their individual knowledge and skills but working together to achieve something as a whole.

Teamwork is basically the ability to work together toward a common goal or vision, or mission and so on.

When we listen to a good music, we basically experience a wonderful product of teamwork. When a song comes out, and released on the market, you have to know there were a lot of people involved in it for you and I to actually be able to listen to it, and buy the CD. There were people with different expertise who actually really worked hard to come up with such a great music product.

This is why when a husband and a wife work together as a team, they tend to accomplish more and be more successful in their marriage rather than they were opposing each other in some family decisions and goals.

Team and teamwork is essential for couples in a marriage and in family as a whole.

Teams and teamwork is an important concept for successful organizations and companies.

And with good teamwork, you can achieve more and great things than if you had to do everything alone.

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