Together

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

An organization functions best when each person correctly accesses his/her gifts, then deploys those gifts as a part of a team effort.  Organizations get into problems when some people try to assume responsibilities for which they are not gifted.  Another deterrent to productivity is having one person think that his/her gifts are more important than another person’s.

A good model to follow is I Corinthians 12.  Paul describes the Church as the human body.  My body has different parts, such as feet, hands, ears, eyes.  My body does not function well if my eyes try to hear or my ears try to see.  There is also dysfunction when one part of my body starts claiming that it is more important than another part.  Each part is extremely important and essential for my body to function as a coordinated unit.

There is a beautiful example of this recently reported in China.  A couple of eco-warriors in China are redefining what it means to work together.  Jia Haixa is blind, and Jia Wenqi is a double amputee who lost both his arms at age 3.  They both found it very difficult to find a job.

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Today they are making a modest living which is helpful to their families, but is also helping to protect their village from dangerous floods.  Haixa says, “I am his hands.  He is my eyes.  We are good partners.”  It is amazing what can happen when each person contributes his best gift to the work of the entire organization.

There is a story about a captain of a ship and the chief engineer who one day began arguing about which was more important to the ship.  To settle the argument, they decided to swap jobs for a few hours.  The chief engineer went up to the bridge and the captain went into the engine room.

About an hour later the captain appeared on the bridge.  He was covered with oil and soot, wildly waving a monkey wrench.  He said, “I can’t make her go.”  The chief quickly said, “Of course you can’t, we have run aground.”

An important aspect is the capability to both give and receive the help we need.  It was recently reported that Apple chief executive Tim Cook revealed that he once offered a dying Steve Jobs part of his own liver.  Jobs’ response was, “I’ll never let you do that.”  He refused the help.  Cook said that he worked with Jobs for 13 years and was never yelled at but four or five time, but this was one of them.  One wonders what could have been if Cook and Jobs had been on the same page about Jobs’ health?

Working together is the “together” that makes for success.  Sir Thomas Beecham, the eminent conductor of the London Symphony, was the guest conductor in another venue and was frustrated with the seemingly undisciplined group of musicians.  During the rehearsal the concert master asked Mr. Beecham how he wanted a particular section played.  After a long pause, and with great emphasis, he replied, “Together!”

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all!

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