TEAMWORK is an ‘EFFECTIVE’ STRATEGY for doing GOD’s WORK: "When Joab saw that the battle line was against him before and behind, he chose some of Israel's best and put them in battle array against the Syrians. And the rest of the people he put under the command of Abishai his brother that he might set them in battle array against the people of Ammon. Then he said, ‘If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me; but if the people of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will come and help you. Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight.’" (2 Sam. 10:9-12)
Joab played an important role throughout David’s reign; serving as commander of David’s armed forces (8:16). His brother, Abishai, served alongside Joab in David’s army. Apparently Joab was a born fighter, and the scriptures record his many successes as David’s military leader.
In the above passage, we read about an effective strategy that Joab adopts for their battle against the combined forces of the people of Ammon and the Syrians. Joab divides his army into two groups: while he himself commands some of best soldiers to fight against the Syrians, his brother Abishai led the rest of the army against the people of Ammon. Both brothers agreed to help each other in case of trouble resulting from a superior enemy attack. Above all, Joab invoked the help of God and their patriotism for their people and the cities that God had gifted them. Having done his best to prepare for the battle, Joab then took confidence in the sovereignty of God. This strategy of Joab of teaming with his brother Abishai along with invoking their faith in God gave them an advantage over evidently superior enemy forces!
An old Swedish motto says, “Shared joy is double joy. Shared sorrow is half the sorrow”. Teamwork happens when a group of individuals are brought together to achieve a common purpose or goal. For team work to work efficiently, every person needs to put aside his/her own individual needs in order to achieve the objective of the group. When the people in the group work with each other in this manner, synergy takes place that produces extraordinary results. The teamwork achieved between Joab and Abishai with God directing their battle brought them victories on two fronts: while the Ammonites shut themselves up in the city (vv. 15–19), the Syrians gave up in retreat (vv. 6–14). These two victories settled the Syrian problem for King David and brought security to his northern boundary for a long time.
This strategy by Joab is a good illustration of the biblical balance between divine sovereignty and human responsibility. The same God who ordains the end (victory in battle) also ordains the means to the end (courageous men who do their job well). Faith and works must always go together, and the exhortation by Joab (“Be of good courage, and let us be strong”) is in line with God’s charge to Joshua at the beginning of the conquest of Canaan (see Josh. 1:6, 7). Joab urges courage to his brother, but recognizes that the outcome of the battle will ultimately depend on God alone!
Teamwork is an effective strategy for doing God’s work! It means sharing our God-given responsibilities based on clear goals, values, priorities, giftedness, training, and God’s leading. The work of the church today depends on Christ leading as the head (Eph. 5:23) of one body, the church. The body of mutually adapted parts works together as a team to achieve the great purposes laid out by Christ through the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20). Through this teamwork, all the latent resources and talents are pooled together to bring great efficiency in the ministry and achieve extraordinary results. Let’s truly understand the enormous benefits of teamwork, and work together with the body of Christ to fulfill the purposes of God for our time!