Character Quality: Cooperation
Character Quality: Cooperation
Most of us like for others to cooperate with us. We like them to work with us, follow our lead. When they do we think of them as cooperative. But I think we miss the point.
Cooperation means that we choose to work with others and don’t insist on our way. It means that we might do it differently than we originally planned or thought we wanted to do it.
When we cooperate with others we allow, we encourage their opinions and their ideas. We welcome their suggestions and solutions. Choosing to work together is glorious when it happens. It’s beautiful to watch and a thrill participate in.
In the Old Testament, Nehemiah took on the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Having led a group of people back to the ruins and facing strong opposition, he organized and managed the people and their work.
Interestingly, as they labored to rebuild the walls, Nehemiah grouped them into their families. The families worked together, with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other. They cooperated.
I can only imagine how this system would have worked. Given that they were families, they would have had to organize themselves so that each member had something to do which was in keeping with their individual abilities. Each person had a specific job and every job was valued and important.
Think of how it must have looked, the families all working together. Think of how it must have built not only the walls, but also the family units too. The work was hard, the resistance real, but they stood together.
As the walls grew taller and stronger, the children did too. The children must have gained new respect for their parents as they labored, and the parents must have been grateful to witness their children mature. They served one another. The wall was simply a tangible representation of what God was accomplishing in their families.
We need to practice cooperation in our homes. It isn’t easy. It’s an investment of our time and energy, a worthwhile investment. Cooperation must be practiced over and over. It isn’t easily learned.
Cooperation takes humility and yet strength. To cooperate we must humble ourselves, to think of others more than ourselves. In order to cooperate we allow God to be our strength in weakness, to do things in and through us that we are unable to do on our own.
Let’s deliberately choose to cooperate. We have the opportunity to do it each and every day. The first step to cooperation is listening to others. Let’s do that today. Let’s dare to hear someone else’s ideas and thoughts, and to respond with kindness.
It glorifies God when we practice cooperation. It makes Him evident. How? Well because in our flesh we want to do it our way, but when God is our Master, we want to do it His way. We want to cooperate with Him and stop insisting on doing it our way.
Additionally, when we cooperate we testify to His grace. When the world sees a family, a community, a church cooperating together to serve they want to know how they are doing it. They want to know what’s our secret.
Our secret is really no secret at all, it’s the work of Jesus in our hearts. He makes it possible for us to listen to each other, to work together, to accomplish great things in His name. When we focus on Him and His will, He makes cooperating with each other possible.
Look for opportunities to cooperate.
Listen to other’s ideas, thoughts, and suggestions.
Let go of things that don’t matter!
Live out selflessness through cooperating.