SCRIPTURE: Romans 11:34 (TM)
Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?
STORY told by Chuck Swindoll:
It's those stately geese I find especially impressive. Winging their way to a warmer climate, they often cover thousands of miles before reaching their destination. Have you ever studied why they fly as they do? It is fascinating to read what has been discovered about their flight pattern as well as their in-flight habits. Four come to mind.
1. Those in front rotate their leadership. When one lead goose gets tired, it changes places with one in the wing of the V-formation and another flies point. 2. By flying as they do, the members of the flock create an upward air current for one another. Each flap of the wings literally creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. One author states that by flying in a V-formation, the whole flock gets 71 percent greater flying range than if each goose flew on its own. 3. When one goose gets sick or wounded, two fall out of formation with it and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with the struggler until it's able to fly again. 4. The geese in the rear of the formation are the ones who do the honking. I suppose it's their way of announcing that they're following and that all is well. For sure, the repeated honks encourage those in front to stay at it.
As I think about all this, one lesson stands out above all others: it is the natural instinct of geese to work together. Whether it's rotating, flapping, helping, or simply honking, the flock is in it together… which enables them to accomplish what they set out to do.
The illustration of the flying Geese, le Tour de France and knowing the mind of God came together in my gray matter yesterday. It is all about being a member of the team – Geese form a team, the bike riders work as a team, and we in the church are suppose to work as a team. The Geese and the Tour de France all know where the team is heading. We on the other hand have to trust our team leader instead of trying to understand it, explain it or even question it by giving our leader advice.
Watching le Tour de France – especially the effort being given for the yellow jersey – I’ve been impressed by the team effort, especially in the mountain stages. One or more team members will literally sacrifice themselves, muscles burning, until they simply cannot pedal any more and must fall of the lead. Why do they make such a horrific sacrifice so that their team leader can win? They don’t do it for their own glory, but for the glory of the team and their team leader. They might never stand on top of the podium because that is not why they are a member of the team. They are on the team because of their strength in one aspect or more of the entire race … and it is for the victory of the team leader and when the team leader wins everybody on the team wins … they get the prize of their team’s victory.
We live in a period of time when it is all about the individual. We all want the glory. We all want to be the center of attention. We all want to be the winner. We are always asking the question, “What is in it for me?” Volunteers demand and expect a very specific job description prior to getting involved. Instead of realizing the satisfaction that the “team” is the ultimate winner and if the “team” wins then everybody wins. It seems to me that our focus is all wrong. We have much to learn from those racing in le Tour de France.
The ultimate question is, “Are we I willing to sacrifice ourself so that the team might win?” Are we willing to go that second mile, give that extra moment of energy, not looking at the prize for ourself, but so that someone else might stand on the podium, be recognized and receive the recognition? Just what is our motivation in doing what we are doing? Why has God placed us in our situation at this particular moment in life? What gifts and graces do we have that can be used to His glory and further the Kingdom of God? How can we be of service to the team Human?
Hear the honking? It’s just our fellow team members encouraging us to continue beating our wings making it easier for everyone to fly faster, longer, further, quicker. Praise God for Team Human!
You have us in the race, O Lord, together, with purpose and you know where we are heading. May that be enough for us to continue to encourage each other so that you receive all the honor and glory.
QUOTE by Dwight Eisenhower: There are no victories at discount prices.