In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often.…
— 2 Corinthians 11:27
The phrase we are going to look at today is absolutely amazing to me. It reveals that the apostle Paul did not have a “movie star” mentality, thinking that he was too high and mighty to do a menial task. Even though he was a great apostle and was mightily anointed, he was also a real team member who was willing to pitch in and do what everyone else was required to do. If there was no one else to do a menial, mundane task, Paul would jump in to do whatever needed to be done.
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The phrase “in watchings often” in Second Corinthians 11:27 reveals this phenomenal attitude in this great man of God. Today we will look at this phrase to discover the “team player” mentality that the apostle Paul possessed. I believe that you will be blessed to learn about Paul’s attitude to work as a fellow team member. But even more importantly, I believe that God’s Spirit will also speak to you about being a team player, no matter what position you hold in the organization where you work or at your church.
In Watchings Often
The word “watchings” is the Greek word agrupvia. It is most likely a reference to the long nights Paul lay awake to defend himself and his team against bandits and robbers who waited to attack them in roadside ditches and caves. The word “often” is the Greek word pollakis, which means many times, often, or frequently.
It was very common for a traveling group to take turns at “watching” during the night. If no one stayed awake and alert, plundering robbers would come and steal all the belongings of the traveling company while they slept. As noted earlier (see October 24), there were many highway robbers who lurked in the dark, waiting for travelers to pass their way so they could beat, rob, and plunder them.
This phrase “in watchings often” reinforces the fact that traveling was extremely dangerous back then, especially at night. And because Paul uses the word pollakis (“often”), we know there were times when he took a turn guarding the camp at night. In fact, Paul tells us that his turn to guard the camp happened “often” as his team traveled from place to place.
I think this little phrase “watchings often” gives us great insight into the willingness of the apostle Paul to act as a team player. Like everyone else on his team, he took his turn watching the camp while others slept. This may not sound like a spiritual part of ministry, but it was a necessary part of his job if he was going to get where he needed to go in order to preach the Gospel.
During the course of Paul’s ministry, he had to do many tasks that seemed unspiritual and unconnected to ministry. These tasks were often mundane, boring, time-consuming, and uncomfortable. Nevertheless, these obligations had to be fulfilled, for without them, the true spiritual ministry could have never occurred.
When God has called you to do something important, you must be willing to do whatever is required to complete that task. This may mean that if there is no one else to do the job, you will have to sweep the floor, lick and seal envelopes, take out the trash, or answer the telephone. When someone else is raised up to do these smaller tasks, you will be freed to concentrate more fully on your larger vision. But until then, you must have a willing heart to do whatever is required to keep things functioning well on the road to fulfilling your assignment.
The fact that Paul sat “in watchings often” emphatically tells us that he was willing to do anything required to preach the Gospel message God had entrusted to him. So follow Paul’s example. Don’t be so high and mighty that you can’t do a mundane, boring, time-consuming, or undesirable act along the way. It may not be something you relish doing. But if you don’t do it, you might fail to achieve the real dream God has placed on your heart.
Make yourself valuable to your organization or church by demonstrating a willingness to do whatever is needed. And don’t wait until someone has to ask you to do a job. If you see a need that no one else is meeting, show initiative by doing that job yourself. Demonstrate that you are willing to be a real team player.
Remember, whatever you sow is what you will reap. So if you willingly give of yourself as a faithful team player in this present season, the day will come when you’ll reap the team players you need to help you in fulfilling the vision God has given you!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, help me to have the attitude of a team player! I want to be of benefit to my organization or place of employment and my church. I ask You to help me recognize opportunities where I can serve; then help me serve in these positions with all my heart. Help me to have the initiative to pitch in and become a helper to the rest of the team rather than to sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else work. I never want to think I’m so high and mighty that I can’t do a menial, mundane task. Holy Spirit, help me to have the attitude of Jesus and to be willing to stoop low and do whatever is necessary in order to get the job done.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I boldly confess that I am willing to do whatever is required to finish the task that has been assigned to me. If there is no one else to do a job, no matter how menial, I am willing to do it — and I’ll do it with a happy heart. I don’t think of myself as so high and mighty that I can’t do a mundane, boring, time-consuming, or undesirable job along the way. I am valuable to my organization and church because I demonstrate a willingness to do whatever is needed. Since what I sow is what I will reap, I am going to give of myself and become a team player — and as a result, a day will come when I reap other team players to help me fulfill my own dream or vision.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. If I asked you to think of one person who is a shining example of a team player in your organization, business, or church, who would that person be? What qualities does this person possess that cause you to see him or her as a good team player?
2. Do you show initiative in your organization, place of employment, or church? Do you pitch in to do whatever needs to be done, or do you linger, waiting and hoping that someone else will do those menial tasks so you don’t have to do them?
3. Would your coworkers agree that you show initiative, or would they say you’re always looking for a way to get out of a job? How would they describe your attitude in the workplace?