Nurses Hold The Key To Any Surgeon’s Success. Members Of The Church Hold The Key to Any Preacher’s Success.

“Who performed your surgery?”

It seems that at least one person has asked me this question everywhere I have gone over the past 4 weeks. Sometimes as many as 3 or 4 people have asked it. And each time I answer the question, the response has been something like, “He did my surgery. He’s such a good doctor. I don’t think there is a better one anywhere.”

I have yet to hear anything negative about this surgeon. I will agree that he does excellent work. My results are an attestation to that fact.

But there is a group of essential people who we often overlook when we single out the surgeon as the key to a successful procedure. Most surgeons would hardily agree that these people are absolutely necessary to their success.

Nurses play a major role in the success of any surgeon.

Nurses do all the prep work before the surgery. Nurses assist during the surgery. Nurses ensure the surgery’s success during the recovery period.

Nurses keep an ever-vigilant eye on the patient’s vital signs during those critical hours immediately following surgery. They are the ones who administer or adjust the levels of medications which ensure healing and comfort. They are the ones who continually evaluate the patient’s condition and make extemporaneous decisions as to their needs. The nurses are the ones who remove tubes, apply prolonged pressure to potential bleed-out sites, ensure that the patient exercises, and puts up with the patient’s ever-changing mood swings.

Indeed, the surgeon plays the role of conductor of the surgical staff, but without the nurses which make up that surgical staff, most all patients (myself included) would be singing a totally different tune when we describe our satisfaction with the surgeon and the procedure. For without the prep nurses, the surgical nurses, and the recovery nurses, successful recovery would be virtually impossible.

Spiritually, there are times when it seems certain people have been blessed with an exceptional gift for leading people to Christ and encouraging them to remain faithful to their commitments. Christians often sing the praises of these gifted people. They will describe them as persuasive, powerful, encouraging, motivational, and exemplary. Indeed, these persons seem to have been blessed with a unique gift.

Paul was such an individual. Few people will argue against an assertion that the Apostle Paul was a gifted evangelist. But Paul, himself, would insist that he could not succeed without the help of his fellow workers; people like Barnabas, Apollos, Luke, Timothy, Titus, Phoebe, Aquila and Priscilla. Paul was the surgeon, and the other christians were the nurses. But Paul could not have accomplished all he did had it not been for his faithful companions.

So it is today. Zealous, enthusiastic, charismatic preachers and teachers may seem to be the primary instruments for the spread of the gospel in a community. But often, the “regular” christians in the community are the key to a preacher’s success. The preacher may be able to present the gospel so that it stirs the hearts of his listeners, but the “regular” christians are the ones who monitor the pulse of the listeners. They are the ones who interact with the listeners and who provide the needed support for the new born babes to grow in their faith.

Appreciate and commend the skills of a surgeon, but don’t ever forget that his nursing staff provides the key to his success.

Appreciate and commend the gifts of an evangelist, but don’t ever forget that the “regular” members of the church are the key to his success.

“Who then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.  He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.  For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Corinthians 3:5-9) ESV

1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, 2 that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well. 3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. 5 Greet also the church in their house. . . .6 Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. . . . 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. . . .12 Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. (Romans 6:1-12) ESV

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Maybe I Don’t Need My Insulin Or Medicine Anymore. And Maybe I don’t Need Jesus Either!

Many diabetics control their blood sugar levels by injecting insulin and/or orally taking medicines. I am one of those diabetics. The condition is relatively new to me, as is the treatment. Through the knowledge and wisdom of the medical personnel helping me to gain control of my condition, my sugar levels have gone from consistently sky-high to consistently falling between the accepted standards for a healthy lifestyle.

A part of my treatment has been modification of diet and exercise. This is something I can and must control on my own.

The temptation I am facing is to believe that I am controlling my sugar levels totally through my own efforts.

I desire to one day hear the words, “You no longer need to inject insulin.” I’d like to eventually hear the words, “You no longer need to take medication. You are doing a fine job of controlling your sugar levels through healthy diet choices and exercise. Just keep it up, and everything will be fine.”

So, about every day, I must remind myself that the diet and exercise modifications I am making to my life are helpful and essential, but the modifications, by themselves, are not the stabilizing forces which have led to the leveling of my sugars.

These modifications are working in conjunction with the insulin and medication. The insulin and medication are not optional. Without them, my sugar levels would consistently run much higher, and would exhibit major spikes from time to time. I cannot control the levels by my own efforts. I need the benefits of the medications.

(Please note the number of times the personal pronouns “I”, “me”, and “my” are used in the section above. This indicates a desire to be in control. It indicates a desire to be totally independent of anyone or anything else. It indicates a desire to deny personal weakness and helplessness.)

Spiritually, we often face the same type of temptations when it comes to dealing with sin. Perhaps we give our hearts and lives to Jesus, and by the power of the initial emotional adrenaline rush, we make some major modifications to our lives. Our goal is to totally change. Our goal is to be as “good” and moral as we can be so that God will be proud of us.

Often, we may experience our lives transforming from an emotional rollercoaster filled with drama into a calming Sunday drive down a country lane. And we are tempted to think to ourselves, “Through my own efforts, I have made an amazing change. Maybe I don’t need Jesus; at least not as much as I once did.”

Often we joyfully witness our list of priorities shifting from parties, excitement, lust, and self-fulfillment to family, sobriety, love, and service. We think to ourselves, “I have finally found myself. I have discovered that which I have been searching for; that which fills the void in my life. I am complete. I have arrived. Maybe I don’t need God or Jesus; at least not as much as I once did.”

In those times of temptation, we fail to realize that Jesus is the reason we have been able to get off the emotional, drama-filled rollercoaster. Jesus is the reason we have replaced selfish superficiality with selfless profundity. Jesus is the reason our lives have gone from spiritually depleting to spiritually enriching.

Physically, some of us diabetics may one day be able to discontinue the insulin and medication. But spiritually, none of us will ever come to a point that we can discontinue Jesus. He will forever be the stabilizing force within our lives.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) ESV

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) ESV

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) ESV

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