ROAD RULES by the Rev. Anthony Payton
Merriam Webster Dictionary defines collaborate as:
1. to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor to cooperate
On a recent Sunday, we taught the first half of the Road Rules’s Lesson on “Collaborate Intentionally.”
We considered the condition of David’s men when they came to him while he was in the Cave of Adullam. The Message Bible says:
“When his brothers and others associated with his family heard where he was, they came down and joined him. Not only that, but all who were down on their luck came around—losers and vagrants and misfits of all sorts. David became their leader. There were about four hundred in all.”—1 Samuel 22:1
However, after years of collaborating with David, when we read David’s last official words in 2 Samuel 23:8-39 explaining that these same men have been transformed to “Mighty Men of Valor.” They did things that warriors would do, because they hung around and collaborated with a warrior.
Learning to collaborate and whom to collaborate with is essential to our destiny. Leadership has very little to do with starting out with the smartest, wisest or the most talented. Anyone can make brick with straw. The true test of leadership is making brick without straw. David took what he had and made history. These men learned to follow, listen and honor—in short, to collaborate with David. As a result, their names are in the canon of scripture.
Often as leaders we are more concerned about getting the right people on our team, rather than developing the right people for our team. God sends us the “who-so-evers” and we often reject them because they are not already ready. The most loyal team members I have are those that I have developed. They came just as they were and have collaborated with me to accomplish God’s plan for us collectively and individually. Think about it, David took those who were down on their luck, losers, vagrants and misfits of all sorts and turned them into leaders. Wow!
Paul reminds us of this fact, by urging us to consider our own call:
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”—1 Corinthians 1:26-30 NIV
I often wonder where our community would be if we had less competition among leaders and more collaboration among leaders. I don’t know about you, but I are willing to dream and give collaboration a try.
Shane Claiborne, writes in Red Letter Revolution: What If Jesus Really Meant What He Said: “As Christians, we should be the best collaborators in the world. We should be quick to find unlikely allies and subversive friends, like Jesus did.”
When we collaborate Intentionally four things happen:
• We weave together individual strengths.
• We are empowered to reach higher.
• We bring different opinions and options to the table.
• We share the weight of common goals.
These are but of few of the things that transformed David’s band of misfits into mighty men of valor. I believe that the same destiny is awaiting each of us—if only we would collaborate intentionally.
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 4 print edition.