By LaShanda Jones
“For the body is not one member, but many.” (1 Corinthians 12:14, NASB)
The 1943 version of the movie, Gung Ho!, is one of the best cinematic examples of teamwork I have ever seen.
The movie is a dramatic adaptation of real-world events recalled by Lieutenant Colonel Evans Carlson, a military attaché in the embassy to China in the late 1930s. The term has mandarin origin and can be further translated as Gung which means “work” or “to work and Ho which is “together” or “harmony”.
The opening scene of the movie portrays a call for volunteers to join the United States Marine Corps in 1942 during World War II. A series of individual interviews are taking place in the scenes that follow. Each volunteer was being asked:
1) What’s your reason for wanting to join?
2) Why did you volunteer for this job?
Each one was required to give an answer or quit wasting the “recruiter’s” time.
It struck me how absolutely necessary it is for those of us who participate on a ministry team, to know our individual purposes.
In determining what our individual roles are, and honestly evaluating our own individual motives, we have to remember that we are parts that make up a portion of the whole, many members of one body.
After the interviews, all of the new enlistees are gathered together for a mass briefing. Lt Col Carlson, while working with the Chinese, had been inspired by their success over the Japanese in their industrial operations. So, in addition to choosing the Chinese term as his motto, he referenced their practices in his efforts to create a spirit of teamwork among the marines he led during that time. He told the marines there were two primary reasons behind the success of China (1) every man believed in what he was fighting for and (2) every man had a desire to do his duty.
Do you believe that the ministry that you are working in has God inspired purpose? Do you believe you have purpose that is in accord with the purpose of that ministry (each one, if more than one)? Will you be faithful to operate in that purpose, putting the purpose first, regardless of whether or not people recognize your efforts?
As he prepared to close his very dynamic speech, Lt Col Evans encouraged everyone that every man’s job is important. He said, in so many words, that battles are won by teamwork. It takes trained men fighting together with the precision of machine, but not just any machine. It has to be a harmonious machine.
When you are supposed to be on the same team, no one wins if the teammates are competing against each other. Let us all do our duties and give glory to God rather than seek it for ourselves.