What is cooperation? My online dictionary says cooperation means: “1: the action of cooperating; common effort. 2: association of persons for common benefit.”
It’s kinda like my granddaughters’ cheerleading dance presentations. Each girl has her own personality. Each has her own height, weight, and abilty to perform the cheer in a fluid motion of unity. They cooperate in making this occur with a common effort to achieve one voice to benefit the whole. If one girl decides she’d rather dance to a different song and when the music begins, she dances to a song in her own head, she is not a cooperating member of the team. She may continue to dance with the rest of the team, but it is clear to all who watch the performance, that she is not cooperating.
Whenever a member of any team sticks out like that girl, can that member be considered cooperating? Some folks think cooperation is disagreeing agreeably. Some folks think cooperation is saying you are a member of a team while doing something different than the team. Some folks think cooperation means being polite while doing the opposite of what a team has decided upon. Others think its appropriate to talk ill of the team while remaining on the team–that is still cooperating. Is it?
Jesus had a team. He had twelve. One decided he didn’t like the direction of the leader of team. Can you imagine, actually going against the leader of the team? Sounds a bit like Terrell Owens. Now where did that take him? No matter how valuable a person’s talents, abilities and opinions are, if that person is not actively cooperating in a common effort for the common good, can that person be considered cooperative? If any member of the team persistently and methodically does all he/she can to undermine the team’s efforts, to divide the loyalties of the team, are they truly cooperative?
One of my favorite things about being a Southern Baptist is the cooperation amongst the churches within our convention. I love the fact that through the gifts of many, many are served, reached, ministered unto and blessed because of the money we each give to God each week. I love that we work together as laborers in the kingdom in our associations and our states for the common good of reaching the lost. I love that we set aside times for special prayer and offerings for world missions, North American missions, state missions, world hunger relief, and children’s homes. I love the fact that many in the evangelical community at large see our cooperation as a positive thing–something they wish they could achieve in their own faiths. (Perhaps they will some day…I pray to that end). This cooperative effort is worthy of report, but not of prideful boasting. In fact, it should humble us to realize how very blessed we are as a body of Believers. But then, I suppose there are those who would disagree with me.