Monsoon rains had me quite wet by the time I entered the building. I was visiting a hospital in third-world Asia, and they were going to let me watch a C-section. I was very excited and nervous.
I am not a medical person and was worried I would embarrass myself by getting queasy, but my curiosity overcame my fears. I did not want to miss such a great opportunity.
Soon I was dressed in scrubs. Trying to breathe inside my medical mask without getting lightheaded, I looked around the room filled with antiquated equipment, then focused on the doctor and his team.
I watched in awe as the doctor made a straight, thin cut, then worked meticulously through layer after layer in an orderly, detailed fashion. It was like watching an artist; everything he did was thorough and precise.
Layers and layers were pulled back to make way for the doctor to pull out a tiny, beautiful brown baby. I waited breathlessly. When she let out a loud, life-filled wail, I am sure the smile inside my medical mask was huge.
I had just seen life. A first breath. A first cry. What a gift!
When I was offered the opportunity to watch a second C-section, I jumped at the chance. This time I invited a friend to come along. She was not sure she wanted to come—that whole queasy thing—but I reassured her. “Oh, it was clean and orderly. He was very methodical, and it was not gross at all.”
I convinced her, and together we went into the hospital room.
That day a different doctor entered the room to do the C-section. This doctor was boisterous and laid-back, almost flamboyant. I held my camera up and he got ready to begin what I assumed would be another 45-minute surgery of precision and detail.
I was wrong. My mouth hung open in shock.
I will not describe it in detail in case you are the queasy type too, but let’s just say it was messy and haphazard and extremely not clean. He spoke loudly. His arms gestured. He was on a mission and not to be hampered.
In five minutes it was over. The doctor tossed off his scrubs, leaving them on the floor, and left the room with us still standing inside, staring.
That day I learned that an individual’s personality affects his methods—even if that person is a skilled surgeon.
I imagine those two doctors would have a hard time working together. Their ultimate priorities—to bring babies safely into the world—were the same. Their secondary priority—how to do it—differed vastly according to their very different personalities and strengths.
Had those two doctors been working in the same room, there would probably have been a great deal of frustration and irritation. I can only imagine the two of them hovering over one woman, trying to get the other to do the C-section the way they thought was best.
Can you just imagine the conversation?
“Slow down! We need to do this right, with as little scarring as possible. Plus, we need to keep it as clean as we can.”
“Are you kidding? We need to get this baby out now. Who cares if the fat layer is stitched up perfectly? The staff is responsible for cleaning up the room after we are done. Stop being so picky!”
“You do not care about what is important!”
“No, you do not care about what is important!”
Truth is, they would each have a hard time—not about caring about what is important, but about caring about what is important to the other, very different person.
However, if they could accept each other, and accept that God had created them to be and work differently, their cooperation could be a very positive thing. If they learned to give each other grace, their combined expertise, and heart for people in need, could reach out to a much larger variety of people than either could working alone.
It is the same in the body of Christ. For example, think about any given section of your team, and you will likely find a kaleidoscope of personalities including (but not limited to):
• A PUSHER, the take-charge one,
• A PLEASER, the let’s-not-have-conflict one,
• A PERFECTIONIST, the one who wants it done just right,
• A PERFORMER, the one who craves attention.
Likely the pusher seems loud and aggressive to the pleaser, who seems to be wasting time to the perfectionist, who wants to focus on the problem to be solved, which seems tedious to the performer, who wants to make it fun, which seems selfish to the pleaser, who—and on and on it goes.
Makes me think of those two surgeons trying to do a C-section together, but each in his own way. Pity the poor baby if they did!
Christians can either spend our time trying to make others like ourselves (which leads to much frustration, failure, and a great many non-Christlike actions and attitudes), or we can give grace, allowing time and freedom for God to make people more like Himself. If we let God make others (and us!) more like Himself, we will find we can affect a greater variety of people than we could on our own.
Which way is better? No question there!
In the end, both of the C-sections I watched were successful. Both resulted in a beautiful new life, brought safely into the world.
God wants success for His body too. He wants us to use our differences for His glory—with the end result of new life brought beautifully and joyfully into the kingdom.
So whether you identify with the methodical or the boisterous (or neither!), use who God made you to be to do what God has asked you to do.
Leave the rest to Him.
Question to consider: In the diverse body of Christ, how do you “use who God made you to be, to do what God has asked you to do.”?