Cultivate a Life in Common
One skill that doesn’t seem to be taught in school anymore is how to work well with others. But it’s one of the most important skills to learn if you’re going to be a happy person.
If you don’t work well with other people, you’re going to be unhappy much of your life.
What do you need to learn in order to work with other people?
First, you must learn to cooperate with others.
Epaphroditus was a man that the church in Philippi sent to Rome with a gift of financial support for Paul while he was in prison. Philippians 2:25 says, “I feel that I must send Epaphroditus — my brother, coworker, and fellow soldier — back to you. You sent him as your personal representative to help me in my need” (GWT).
By calling Epaphroditus his brother, coworker, and fellow soldier, Paul was saying that life and ministry is a family, it’s a fellowship, and it’s a fight.
The church is the family of God. We are brothers and sisters with the people we minister and worship with, and we should treat them as such. It’s also a fellowship, where we work and serve together with a common goal — the Great Commission.
You’re also in the same fight together against Satan, and you need to support each other. You need to defend and encourage each other.
The best place to learn how to cooperate with others is in the church.
Second, you need to learn to be considerate.
Paul is speaking of Epaphroditus again in Philippians 2:26 when he says, “He has been longing to see all of you and is troubled because you heard that he was sick.”
Notice there are two examples of consideration. Paul is considerate of his co-worker’s homesickness, and Epaphroditus is considerate about the Philippians’ concern.
This is a key to happiness! The more considerate you learn to be of other people’s needs, doubts, and fears, the happier you will be. If you are inconsiderate you’re going to have an unhappy marriage.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:10, “You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common” (MSG).
None of us is by nature a considerate person, because we tend to think of ourselves first and not the needs of others. “Cultivating a life in common” takes work, and learning to get along and work well with others takes practice. Like a garden that requires cultivation to bear fruit, you’ll see how your effort bears the fruit of happiness and strong relationships.
Talk It Over
- Why is it sometimes hardest to get along or work well with people who are a part of the church and with whom you minister?
- What new practices can you adopt to cultivate cooperation and consideration among your ministry group or coworkers?