“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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