Mike Barker told me that the obstacle course in Air Force basic training changed his life. On his first attempt he completed the course far ahead of everyone else, but he was immediately confronted by his drill sergeant, who demanded, “Where are all your buddies?” “Back there, sir,” Mike replied. “I won!”

The sergeant barked, “The obstacle course isn’t about coming in first! It’s about finishing! Everybody finishes or nobody wins. Go back and run it again, and this time help the guys who are struggling along the way!”

That began Mike’s transformation from a lone competitor obsessed with winning into an encourager whose goal was to build teamwork.

Jesus didn’t move through life as a solitary figure, living a perfect life alone. As He neared the cross, He poured out His heart in prayer for His disciples: “Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept” (Jn. 17:11-12). Now that’s teamwork!

How will we run life’s obstacle course today? Striving alone to win, or as our Lord prayed—together, united, encouraging each other until we cross the finish line?