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“…The Lord God Made {Us} All”

Today I worked on a group project and it was interesting watching the personalities involved. There were two team leaders, partners if you will.

One, we’ll call him Joe, tends to wing it—duct tape and bailing wire, jump in with intuition, experience, and modify the plan as it develops, or develop the plan as it is modified, or ….AND tends to be pretty successful in his endeavours.

The other, “Sam,” spends days planning the simplest operation, using various software programs to plot out how everything fits together, what pieces are needed, buys the equipment days in advance to read all of the directions, make sure all the pieces are there, that they fit together, that all equipment is functioning properly, etc. He tends to get frustrated often and deeply during this process because commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) merchandise fails to perform as advertised, regularly. In spite of all of the hours of work, however, little runs smoothly or according to plan. He is living proof of German General Helmuth Graf von Moltke’s adage, “No campaign plan survives first contact with the enemy.”

These traits manifest themselves in how they communicate. Joe was unable to come until the rest of us had gotten a good start on the project. Sam filled him in, going into minute detail of what he was doing, the motivation behind the decisions, how they succeeded or failed, and so on. Joe kept replying quickly, “Ok.” “Alright.” “Sounds good.”

Joe tends to imply what he means in brief utterances, and seems to assume you know what he is thinking, so he doesn’t have to fill in all of the blanks.

When they work together, I’ve learned to just be hired help, offering observations when needed, but otherwise staying out of the way of the decision making—just trying to keep the number of cooks under control as far as I’m able.

It is fascinating to see how these two extremes of approach bend around each other and deal with the build up of frustration, but maintain peace and civility. This is most often accomplished by Joe deferring to whomever seems willing to take charge.

They are both godly men, and good men. I respect both of them very highly. Both are able to get their projects done. Both are created in the image of God. Yet they deal with and approach situations completely differently, each approach having strengths and weaknesses.

I find this among my students in the classroom—there are so many different approaches to learning, and the challenge is to reach as many of them as possible, because, of course, I tend to have my preferred style of communicating, but it only reaches some of the students.

I try to imagine heaven. Revelation tells that all tribes, tongues, nations, and cultures will be together in peace and harmony, glorifying God. This will include Sam and Joe, even though they are from the same tribe, tongue, nation, and culture, they sometimes seem a world apart, and I wonder how that all fits together up there in eternity, without the frustration and friction.

The best I can come up with is that we will be doing what we are best suited to, and so our egos will not need to be in the way because we are all working towards our strengths, and better able to see and understand those of others. Perhaps peace and harmony are more dynamic than angels strumming harps on clouds, and emotions will run to and fro, because there is a place for all emotions, but they won’t run to the hurt of ourselves and others, because “all tears will be wiped away.” Perhaps we’ll be so focused on Christ and working towards Him that such frictions will be beneath our notice.

I don’t have the answers, and I know I’m sometimes working with people who operate on very different levels from me, and I need to learn better how to do this without frustration or negative thoughts towards them. But, God love us, He made us all very different, and expects us to work constructively together.

It just proves I’m not God, because I’m pretty sure I would have done it differently, which tells me to look deeper to see the rational wild beauty in it that reveals His character in a new way.


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