How to Work and Play Well With Others

10 Jan

Here’s a question: If Jesus’ main prayer at the end of his earthly ministry was that we should be one, then why didn’t he make us the same?  Wouldn’t it be easier to get along?

“I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me” (John 17:23 NLT)

And what does it mean when Jesus prays that we’ll have such “perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me…?”

There is one analogy I’ve found that helps me understand how differences that can be brought together in unity can be magnificent… even heavenly.  Want to know what it is?

English: Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra in perf...

Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Look closely at an orchestra

In terms of musical instruments, you’ll find many differences.  Some are stringed instruments, some are wind… and some are played by hitting them (percussion).

So how do all these differences come together and produce sound that moves the soul?

Individual Excellence

In a professional orchestra, each musician spends countless hours perfecting their instrument.  They know how to play it, they know how to read the music for it, and most of all, they practice…practice… practice.

Do they get it right the first time?  If you’ve ever been to an elementary school orchestra concert, you already know the answer to this.  But those who practice will improve… and those who are gifted and practice will excel!

But sometimes excellence is about what you don’t do.  Professionals don’t attempt to make their instrument play a part it is not meant to play.  Have you ever heard a drummer complain because she doesn’t get to play the melody?

That’s absurd!  But have you ever had people in your organization or church complain about not getting to play some part that they aren’t equipped, gifted, or called to play?  The result would be about the same.

Follow the Leader

Just being excellent individually is not enough.  If you want proof of this, listen to any orchestra warm up… lots of talent plus little organization = chaos!

What takes a bunch of excellent musicians and makes them one?  There is a moment after warmups are complete when the conductor takes the stage, taps the baton, and all musicians turn their eyes on the conductor.  And as the conductor leads, and the musicians follow, something amazing happens.

All these different instruments and individual experts come together as one.  And they produce not just a song, but a symphony that moves the soul.

Look at the difference it makes when many differences come together as one:

Lessons for Jesus Followers

  1. Figure out your instrument:  How did God make you (see “Got Gifts?” as a place to start)
  2. Learn to play your part with excellence (it takes practice…practice… practice)
  3. Don’t worry about other “musicians,” and don’t envy their part… perfect your part
  4. Above all… follow the conductor

Maybe that’s why God makes us all so different.  Who would go to see an orchestra of all kazoos?

And maybe that’s why Jesus says that if we are in Him and He in us, we’ll experience perfect unity… much like the orchestra who follows the conductor.

And just maybe that’s how people will know how much God loves us: to have given us a conductor named Jesus at such a high price, to lead the most beautiful music the world has ever heard.

If we’re willing to:

  • See differences as strengths
  • Develop individual excellence
  • Use them together as we follow Christ

Then we will produce a symphony of the soul… the likes of which the world seldom sees.  And when the world sees it, they will know of God’s great love for them.

Will you follow?

What holds you back from following the Conductor named Jesus?  How have you discovered “your part?”  Leave a comment and help others find their way into the orchestra!

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Posted by on January 10, 2013 in Group Discussion


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