The retired Radio and TV personality, Charles Osgood, known for his daily radio commentary “The Osgood Files,” once shared this poignant story.
Two ladies who lived in a convalescent center had each suffered an incapacitating stroke. Margaret’s stroke left her left side restricted, while Ruth’s stroke damaged her right side. Both of these ladies were accomplished pianists but had given up hope of ever playing again.
The director of the center had an idea. He sat them down at a piano and encouraged them to play solo pieces together. Margaret with her good right hand and Ruth with her good left hand combined to make beautiful music. In addition, they also developed a close and lasting friendship.
This touching story demonstrates the power and potential of cooperation. And it illustrates the need we have in our relationships to work together for the common good.
Application of the principle could be made in halls of Congress. In our communities. And in our families. But think about how important cooperation is in spiritual relationships–in our churches.
While the Bible doesn’t use the English word “cooperation” it speaks of the concept in various ways.
The Jerusalem Christians were “together” and ministered “in one accord” (Ax. 2:42-47). Luke further makes this point when persecution and problems sought to divide and diminish their influence, they prayed and came together in “one accord” (Ax. 4:24; 5:12).
The word “fellowship” which means sharing in common, joint participation, community, and communion necessitates cooperation. Furthermore, cooperation is implicit in the word “together” to describe our spiritual relationship. More than 60 times the inspired writers use the word “together” to express our kinship in God’s Family. We are…
Both 1Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 characterize our cooperation with the analogy of the human body. Paul vividly demonstrates just like there is an interdependence, mutual dependence, and harmonious working of the members of our physical body, so there should be in the spiritual Body of Christ. Cooperation is crucial.
We are better together. Working together. Sharing together. And cooperating together.
However, cooperation calls for character. Unselfishness. Maturity. And extra effort. There must be a willingness to subdue self for the good of the group. Cooperation demands denying our natural instincts and inclination. To collaborate. To edify. And to encourage.
Sadly, in some churches cooperation is replaced by disagreement, discord and division. Such attitudes and their accompanying actions undermine Jesus’ plea for unity–a oneness that ought to proclaim to the world that we are disciples of Christ (Jn. 17:20-23).
The spirit of cooperation reminds us, as the late Dee Bowman once wrote, “We’re all just parts, nobody’s the whole.” In fact, some of us like Margaret and Ruth may have some “disabilities” that hinder us, if we were all alone. However, we can bring what ability and capabilities we possess, and cooperating together we can make a difference. Or as as one writer put it, “Together ordinary people can achieve extraordinary results.”
Indeed cooperation allows us to do together what one member can’t do alone. The resulting harmony will not only bless us and be a witness to the world but offer to God music that’s sweet to His ears.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman