In her book Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other, Sherry Turkle says,
These days, whether you are online or not, it is easy for people to end up unsure if they are closer together or further apart.
If you write or lead online, you know that statement to be true. We are “connected” to more and more people every day, but we can feel further and further apart. Sitting behind the screen, insisting we need to do it all ourselves, we expect more from SEO and social media to share our message and less from our fellow bloggers and ministry leaders.
But we can do better, can’t we? Wouldn’t working together benefit us all … personally, spiritually and professionally?
Of course it would. God did not create us to do this alone. I bet you’ve heard a lot of people say that before, right? Then why are we still trying to do it all ourselves?
We are, indeed, #BetterTogether. Not only did God create us to work together, he gave us many good examples to follow. Take King Solomon, for example. We can learn a lot about working together from the way he overcame an obstacle while building the temple.
Solomon had a problem (1 Kings 5:1-12). He needed wood. Solomon teaches us four important #BetterTogether lessons.
#BetterTogether Lesson One: God helps us make the right connections
Not only did Solomon not have wood, but he also did not have any skilled laborers who knew how to cut down trees. Unfortunately, he couldn’t search Amazon and have wood delivered with next-day shipping. But God was way ahead of him.
His neighbor and family friend King Hiram thought Solomon might need a little help, so he sent his envoys to visit. As it “just so happens” Hiram was the king of Tyre, a city on the southern edge of Lebanon. Ever hear of the “cedars of Lebanon”? Yep, Hiram was king of the trees. God had sent to Solomon just right person to work with.
Look around you. Who has God put in your path that can help with what you need?
#BetterTogether Lesson Two: Collaboration benefits those who work together
This is no one-way street. Successful collaborations benefit both parties. Not in a callous, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” kind of way. It’s more like “Let’s do something awesome together.”
Hiram didn’t come to Solomon with any expectations. And when Solomon responded, he didn’t say, “Hey, old buddy. I need some wood. How about you whack down some of those cedars and send them to me?”
No, he said,
Give orders that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. My men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set. (1 Kings 5:6 NIV, emphasis added)
Let’s jump in and work with each other. There may be a leader in a collaborative effort, but don’t leave all the hard work to the leader. Do your share. Learn from each other. Not only will you gain the benefits of the collaboration, you may also learn a new skill or technique that will help you in the long run.
#BetterTogether Lesson Three: Working Together is more fun
One reason we try to go it alone is that it sometimes seems easier. When you work with someone else, you have to bend to their schedule, give up some control and consider their limitations. Simpler to just do it yourself.
When Hiram received Solomon’s response, he was excited!
He was greatly pleased and said, “Praise be to the Lord today” (1 Kings 5:7 NIV)
Hiram was several years older than Solomon and had been a ruler longer. He could have resented the young upstart king taking the lead in this new working relationship. Instead, he approached it with enthusiasm, thanking God for the wisdom of a friend.
Find the fun in your collaborative relationships. As you communicate with your partners, get to know them personally and figure out how to enjoy the work you are doing together.
#BetterTogether Lesson Four: Long-term relationships breed cooperation instead of competition
Let’s face it … most of us in leadership or solopreneur roles are Type-A, naturally competitive people. Competition has no place in God’s Kingdom. We are all working towards the same goal.
Solomon and Hiram were both probably pretty competitive, but they worked together for a long time.
Solomon continued to do this for Hiram year after year. The Lord gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised him. There were peaceful relations between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty. (1 Kings 5:11-12, NIV)
Their long-term relationship led to a treaty and peace for their people for many years. We don’t know much about the treaty, but it likely included provisions to protect and defend each other.
Wouldn’t a relationship like that bring peace to you? To have a friend who has your back instead of trying to compete with you?
So let’s stop trying to go it alone. Reach out. Work together. You’ll be glad you did.