The Assimilating Leader

For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:  That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

1 Corinthians 12:24-26

Diversity in Creation

Paul just summarizes a powerful illustration of how the body of Christ parallels our physical bodies. Sugkerannumi, the Greek word translated as tempered, also means to assimilate.

The human body may must be the most amazing creation in the universe. According to Research America, nearly $140 Billion was spent on medical research in 2012. That doesn’t even count the dollars spent on treatment. There are more than 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. There are nearly a million physicians, two million physical therapists and three million nurses in the United States alone. The human anatomy certainly does garner a lot of respect.

Scientists recognize that the body is a well-designed and orderly part of God’s creation. All of these professionals and all of this money is invested in understanding, maintaining and facilitating God’s handiwork. While we are so thankful that God has allowed us to learn and apply His laws towards the healing and maintenance of our physical bodies, we also understand that we have hardly scratched the surface. There is so much more to learn.

Just as God has intimately and masterfully designed our bodies with multiple fascinating aspects that work together as a whole, Paul wants us to understand that the body of Christ works in an identical fashion. Unfortunately, some of our parts fail to understand this truth.

Different Isn’t Crazy

The diversity of a church, business or corporation is its strength so long as it is unified in purpose. As a leader there are times when I watch someone else do something differently than I do and my instinct is to correct them until I see them succeeding. Then I step back and ask myself if their style or method is wrong or just different.

I am not content using wrong methods to achieve right goals. It has been said that it is never right to do wrong in order to do right (Romans 3:8). But I have to be reminded that different isn’t always wrong. While your church, business or organization ought to be built around a godly, ethical and biblical culture a leader recognizes that assimilation does not require the sacrifice of individuality. You really do not benefit from a room full of automated clones.

Don’t Clap Your Feet

As leaders assimilate individuals into their organization, they look for that person’s strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has both. Don’t frustrate someone by asking them to walk on their hands, smell with their ears or clap with their feet. Use the human body as a resource in understanding both your role and the role of those you lead. We can cause injuries both minor and fatal when the body is abused. A leader handicaps his organization when he expects people to perform outside of their God given gifts and abilities.

Annual physicals help us to identify problems and get the right prescriptions for healthy living. Routine checkups or performance reviews can help you identify where your body might need a little physical therapy too. Are all of your people in the right places or are you trying to put shoes on hands and gloves on feet?

If someone isn’t performing well, it could be your fault more than it is theirs. You might simply have the right expectations of the wrong person. Are you trying to turn your reclusive handyman into a Sunday School teacher? Is the little old lady carrying out the garbage while the bodybuilder washes the dishes? What changes do you need to make to maximize the strengths of those in your organization?


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