Our fall camping adventure. And in the quiet cool morning sipping on a Starbucks Mocha Via, I reflect and I count my gifts. Many of the gifts I call out align with this idea of teamwork. Packing and later in the dark, unpacking the gear in the back of the pickup truck. Setting up our large cabin-style tent in the dark. The engineer teaching the calculating one how to start the fire. The engineer bringing the lantern while I had stashed away the new mantles in the bottom of one of those camping totes to replace the broken mantles. All these would have been epic fail for the one flying solo. And while I'm nestled in the warmth of wool blanket, the engineer, who had left with two golden heads for a day of canoeing, returns to the campsite to leave the charcoal at the campsite, rather than in the truck bed 60-miles away: a necessity for the dinner I would begin slow cooking later.
Frank Sinatra sang about love and marriage and claimed, "You can't have one without the other." Whether married or not, mankind is just better together. We're better as teams on this earth. We weren't intended to be lone rangers.
This is God's design for the "C"hurch and for family. He didn't intend for us to hack it on our own. On August 10, 2001, the engineer and I became "one flesh" per God's design and word in Genesis 2:24. We were placed together to complement one another, to help one another fulfill our God-given assignments on this earth. And from our oneness, we've been blessed with three (nearly four) children, our heritage (or gift inheritance) from the Lord, a reward from God (Psalm 127:3.) And we are to use our oneness as an entire family unit to fulfill His good purpose for our lives, namely to bring Him glory.
Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:5-7
Sitting, it's easy to see, to count, to thank. However, how do we daily remind ourselves of this truth? When we're asked to run a last minute errand? When they lie to us? When they (or I) am in a bad mood? When they slam the door to make a point? When they don't offer to help with the dishes or clean up the tent? It's easy in my pride, stubbornness and frustration to forget the unity and oneness for which God designed us and think, I don't need them. I'd be better on my own. They don't add value to my life. They inconvenience me.
James says to forget this blessing, this teamwork instituted by God is foolish. He says that anyone who has these truths revealed to him by God and then forgets is deceived. Like a person who looks in the mirror and then walks away and forgets what he looks like (James 1:23-24). So how do I avoid deceptive foolishness? To not get stubborn or wrapped up in my own selfishness and forget that they make me better?
One key help for me is stopping. Making myself stop to count the blessings. In a fast-paced world, this isn't normal and it isn't easy. But even while you're driving or in the shower, we can take moments to recognize something like, she turned on the hall light that shone into my room, woke me and diverted me from oversleeping. She made me better today.
As the tween walked alongside me to dispose of our garbage at the end of our camping adventure, she says, "Mom, we're fast, but next year we won't be as fast packing up camp because someone will have to take care of the baby." I agreed, we are an efficient family of five. But six is a reward from the God and will make us even better, even if number six slows us down a bit.
How are you better together with those God's placed you next to in this life? It could be a co-worker, co-laborer in ministry, neighbor, roommate or your family. When was the last time you thanked God for your teammate(s) and specifically recognized he or she made you better? If you have other ways you intentionally remember these teammates as God's gift, will you leave them below in a comment? We can all benefit from what you have experienced and practice.

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