The Bible is filled with stories of men and women who overcame incredible adversity and personal shortcomings because of their obedience to and reliance on God.
From early pioneers like Moses and Deborah to early church heroes like Paul and Lydia, each of these characters made an undeniable impact on the people in their era.
We tell their stories thousands of years later because they are proof of God’s ability to change the world through the lowliest and unsuspecting of people.
God works through teams
And while we often look to these individuals for inspiration and guidance when we study the Bible, it can be easy to overlook the fact that in many cases, they did not work alone.
42 They spent their time learning the apostles’ teaching, sharing, breaking bread, and praying together. 46 The believers met together in the Temple every day. They ate together in their homes, happy to share their food with joyful hearts.
47 They praised God and were liked by all the people. Every day the Lord added those who were being saved to the group of believersActs 2:42, 46-47 NCV
The first Christians in the book of Acts changed the course of history because of their devotion to God and each other. Their impact was not a result of any one person’s heroism, but rather the collective spiritual efforts of faith-filled men and women, most of whose names we’ll never know.
God demonstrates throughout the Bible that there is power in sharing a sense of purpose, and holding one another to a set of agreed upon convictions based on his word.
Here are a few of the notable teams that demonstrate this principle:
- The Twelve (Acts 2) – The personal relationship the apostles had with Jesus gave them boldness and conviction. They made personal sacrifices and subjected themselves to ridicule and oppression because they knew that what they were a part of together was unlike anything history had ever seen.
- Peter and John (Acts 4) – While we see these leaders through the lens of history as remarkable champions of the early church, it’s easy to forget that the establishment in their time saw them as anything but: “unschooled and ordinary,” untrained and underwhelming. Yet together their impact was undeniable, and they shocked the world with their unshakable conviction and good deeds.
- Peter and Cornelius (Acts 10) – Peter, the lead apostle designated by Jesus himself, found an unlikely ally in a Roman centurion. As a gentile, Cornelius was influential, and through a shared vision from God, the pair were able to reach and influence a whole new group of people and radically change the culture of the church.
- Paul and Epaphras (Colossians 4:12) – Epaphras, Paul’s ally, was constantly wrestling in prayer for the people in Colosse since founding it. His relationship with Paul is what prompted him to write the letter to the church that we study today.
- Paul, Silas, and Lydia (Acts 16) – Lydia was a wealthy merchant in Philippi, Living independently in a spacious house. She was the first Christian convert on the European continent and invited Paul and Silas to stay and work from her home. Lydia’s home became the central location for the church in the area as it grew.
- Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18) – Priscilla and Aquila were tentmakers native to Rome. Referenced in four different New Testament books, they encouraged Paul and tutored Apollos, setting an inspiring example of what a spiritual married couple could be. They became known for their steadfastness and bravery and were a big part of helping the early church grow.
- David and His Mighty Men (2 Samuel 23) – While King David is renowned for his acts of bravery, he also made it a point to surround himself with capable and trustworthy men. His mighty men are reminders to us that even one of the Bible’s greatest heroes relied on others.
- Ruth and Naomi (Ruth) – When Naomi was weighed down and blinded by her pain and bitterness, Ruth stuck by her. She wasn’t deterred by the walls Naomi put up and kept believing in her even when Naomi pushed everyone else away. Naomi then looked out for Ruth, thinking about her future while Ruth stayed in the day-to-day. She worked to see the vision she had for Ruth come true. The two of them played into each other’s strengths and weaknesses were there for each other at their lowest points and made each other better.
- Deborah and Barak (Judges 4-5) – Deborah pushed Barak to be the leader she already knew he was. Barak, on the other hand, wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable and express need and ask for support, and so they worked together to bring a victory to Israel that had otherwise seemed impossible.
The Bible makes it clear that we weren’t meant to change the world on our own.
So what kind of teams are you forming with your friends, family, and community? What vision has God put on your heart to do, and who are the people that will go on the journey with you to see the dream realized?
A little self-reflection is a good way to identify what you can grow in personally to become someone who makes an impact through unity of faith and purpose. And what better way to reflect than with a personality quiz?
The following is a short and (hopefully) fun self-assessment that should take you about 2-3 minutes to complete. It’s not in any way scientific, so please have fun with it and let it spark some great conversations with friends about your strengths and weaknesses.