I love the Ryder Cup.  It’s a unique sporting event when the top players from Europe and The United States, in what is almost always an individual sport, team up to play together for nothing more than pride.  The atmosphere is amazing – even on a rain-soaked day like today. 

Now I am slightly biased of course.  I love sport generally and I play golf specifically, so this sort of thing is my bag to begin with – but the dynamic of this event is unusual.  All sports have their superstars and every team has its outstanding individuals but team sports are always about the team.  A collection of brilliant individuals doesn’t make a brilliant team – and there’s a mentality about team play that can lift individuals.  A good team is more than the sum of its parts. 

Are you a team player?

I ask because church is a team sport.  Church is a body and each part matters.  As Paul says, “The body is not made up of one part but of many,” (1 Corinthians 12:14).  You can’t opt out and you can’t do without other members.

And if we don’t have a team mentality the church will not function  as it should.  Paul urges us to, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others,” (Philippians 2:3-4).  Because that’s what team players do.

Now that sometimes comes at a cost.  Sometimes great players have to sit on the sidelines.  Sometimes they take a knock for the team.  But they do it for the team.

The church is God’s team, put together to accomplish His purposes.  And whilst our role as an individual is important, it is not the most important thing.  It is most important that the team performs well so that God is honoured and His kingdom is extended.

That’s a tension that the world’s greatest golfers will have to live with over the next two days.

And if you want to be a truly great player, that’s a tension you will have to live with too.