Being A Team Player: A New Summer Series

Photo by Eastop (stepheneastop.com).

Photo by Eastop (stepheneastop.com)

The signs of summer are all around us.  The first ninety degree day.  Exams completed. Some of our students heading home. Others starting rotations or residencies.  The Phillies are floundering.  (I wish that was a joke.)

Summer is also a great time for re-evaluation, an opportunity to get out of the ruts we find ourselves in.  I’m not sure about you, but sometimes I feel like I have two people living inside of me.  One person likes being complacent and wearing blinders so that I don’t have to face things I don’t want to.  The other person wants to face himself and move forward, even if it’s hard.  

This new series of summer blog posts is my attempt to move forward with you.

The theme – being a team player – I admit, is not entirely intuitive.  

About 15 years ago, when I was still in seminary, I was sitting with my wife in the home of one of our mentors.  I forget what we were talking about, but the husband said, ‘Who knows what God will do through you… maybe you’ll impact millions of people like [the famous preacher] Charles Spurgeon!’  I wasn’t dumb enough to say it, but I thought to myself, ‘Yeah, maybe… I can see that happening’.  (My wife, who was more humble, later gently pointed out that he was being tongue-in-cheek).

The point is that, like my younger self, we all tend to put ourselves at the center of the universe.  And think that we can ‘change the world’ by working hard, being intelligent and talented.  Or, after we sour on the idea of making a real impact, we become jaded and largely give up, opting for whatever small pleasures and comforts we can find.

Over the years, I’ve started to learn that I really can’t do it alone.  I’ve always ‘known’ that, but every day it becomes more obvious and less theoretical.  As that is sinking in, I find myself working more on teams – official or not – and making a far greater impact.  

Which is what I’ve always wanted – to make a real difference.  I’m assuming the same is true for you.

I’ve also observed, though, that working with others is way harder than I ever dreamed.  If you’ve ever lived with anyone for more than a week, you already know this.

So, the premise behind this series is simple.  To make a real impact, we’ve got to work with others – be part of a team.  But, it’s crazy hard because we – and everyone else – bring our own baggage with us.  In this series, I’ll try to bridge that gap so we can move forward together. 

Here’s what you can expect.  Each post will:

  • be relatively short 
  • be biblically-informed 
  • speak largely, but not only, to people in healthcare
  • challenge you (and myself) to take a small action step
  • be published on Wednesday (this being an exception)

If you’re alive, God has exciting plans for your life.  He wants to make a difference through you, right where you are, even with all of the distractions and problems going on in and around you.

One of the major ways he does that is by putting other people in your life.  Nearly 2,000 years ago, the writer to the Hebrews had this advice for people who were facing their own (much more serious) problems and distractions:

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Over these next few weeks, then, I hope to encourage you to ‘consider’ what it means to live a life of ‘love and good works’ with the people around you.  Welcome aboard!

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