Philippians 1:1-11

I remember the year NBA stars Michael Jordan and Earvin "Magic" Johnson were vying for the Most Valuable Player award. That year it was incredibly close, and the final tally resulted in Johnson's winning the award by the narrowest of margins. The choice boiled down to an understanding of the definition of "valuable" as opposed to the definition of "outstanding."

As one sportswriter correctly stated, few people would disagree that Jordan was the single most "outstanding" professional basketball player that year. The leading scorer in the NBA, the man was virtually unstoppable. No one would argue that he alone was the reason the Bulls gave the Pistons a run for their money. Jordan was a wizard in sneakers.

In spite of all this, however, Jordan wasn't voted MVP. Why? Because the MVP not only takes into consideration superb individual performance but also the ability to inspire and involve one's teammates, encouraging and enabling them to excel.

In thinking about this, it occurs to me that the ranks of Christianity include a few "superstars"—extremely capable women and men who have been appointed and anointed by God to occupy significant roles of responsibility. As significant as these outstanding folks may be, however, the greater award goes to the most valuable—those individuals who may not be as impressive or as popular or even as capable on their own, but who can inspire and involve others on the team. Whenever they are engaged in the action, good things happen.

Let me suggest at least eight qualities needed to be valuable: 

    • Initiative—being a self-starter with contagious energy
    • Vision—seeing beyond the obvious, claiming new objectives
    • Unselfishness—releasing the controls and the glory
    • Teamwork—involving, encouraging, and supporting others
    • Faithfulness—hanging in there, in season and out
    • Enthusiasm—bringing affirmation, excitement to a task
    • Discipline—modelling great character regardless of the odds
    • Confidence—representing security, faith, and determination 

Will you accept the challenge of focusing on being a valuable team player?

What qualities do you value and why?


Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.