Name: Dale Cope

Married since 1974. Two boys. Born in Detroit and graduated from Bethel Theological Seminary. I have done nursing home chaplaincy work, youth ministry, and short term missions. I have been at Stanchfield Baptist church as pastor since January 1985.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Competitive Spirit-John 3:22-26

Sermon Nugget, Mon. Feb 25

Theme- Unity

Verses- John 3: 22-26 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.)
An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing.
They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan-- the one you testified about-- well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.

Evaluating the Competitive spirit.
My friend, pastor Joel Severson from Princeton, also serves as a military Chaplain. Part of his responsibility with the Army is to go to with the national guards to local disaster areas. I asked him about priorities to how to help so many people. I was surprised to have him describe the competitive spirit between the volunteers from the Salvation Army and the Red Cross. Each group, from his perspective, is seeking to get there first and setup the command center. Since the military oversees the operation under the governor’s direction immediately competition sets in as to who gets what turf, who has the authority to replace someone who was there first, which group provides which services for those affected by the disaster.
In times of chaos someone has to be in charge to organize the operation. But the competitive spirit gets in the way of the tasks. Some of the directors of local agencies do not get along because each seeks to outdo the other.
But while some people are trying to get in the media photos and putting together the numbers of how many they help, others who are not part of any agency or organization, are the real first responders. The neighbors and locals are looking for the injured and dead. The community brings the homeless into their houses for food, emergency need. Churches start kicking in to help one another. Strangers take those injured, who can walk, in their cars to drive them to hospitals and urgent care facilities. From Joel's perspective people helping people who are not interested in notoriety are the real heroes.
This week we will look at some more teaching by John the Baptist. He is getting complaints by his disciples how Jesus is baptizing more people than “their group”. Jealousy is creeping in.
The competitive spirit is one of the barriers to doing the Lord’s work. Pride and jealousy have to be continually evaluated as we work together for greater goals.
For whom do you feel jealous? Why? What if someone is outshining you in your tasks? Where do personalities and competition get in the way of accomplishing the needed tasks? How does our society promote competition so that it spills over into our churches and ministries?

Pastor Dale