Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I was thinking about how gears mesh together. One fits into the other, smoothly one interacts with the other one, together they perform some form of useful purpose. Then it became obvious fairly quickly that meshing can describe how two (or more) people work together.
So then I started thinking about the various ways we might visualize two people accomplishing something together.
When it comes to personalities and abilities, we could say two people are identical. Now that isn't very likely, since there will be differences. Even if both are gifted musicians, for example, each will have their own uniqueness.
However, let's say that both are alike. If they were somehow turned into a chart or a diagram, one would be the same as the other. In some ways, one would be unnecessary, since that one would be duplicating what the first one was able to accomplish—other than the benefit of have twice as much strength to accomplish the task together.
So, you could have two identical people doing a job together.

Then, you could have two people whose gifts overlap in some areas, and are unique in others. As they work together on a project, some areas would be done with a lot of discussion as each one contributed wisdom and together they discuss (argue!) which idea was more worthy of consideration. This would particularly occur in the areas where their skills overlapped. Each one would know that their own idea was very good. In the areas that they had no strength, they would probably be more willing to acquiesce to the gifted partner.
Still, they would get the job done. It would be done with the benefit of both people's experience and wisdom.

Then there are two very different people doing something together. Where one person recognizes they have little strength, they easily turn to the one who has the experience. Together the gears mesh beautifully. (This is my parable, so it can all be a bed of roses!!) Each willingly, even joyfully allows the other to express their uniqe talents. Each moves forward boldly in the areas of their own ability. Perhaps one is more of the driving force, but the other is happy to be empowered, to receive from the other, to take what is given and turn it into something of even greater value.

There are many kinds of partnerships in life. Sure, marriage is an obvious one, but there are many settings where we have the opportunity to cooperate. The responsibility is shared, and so is the reward.

What's the moral of my little gear parable? It's always beneficial to have a good idea of your own abilities, giftings, and callings. It doesn't have to be pride to say “I believe I have the ability to help in this area of responsibility.” Then, it's also good to recognize your areas of lesser strength. You could call it weakness, but it isn't a negative thing to realize that you don't play the piano. Leave that to someone who does, and you can be just as helpful by being the one who bakes the cookies, or stacks the chairs, or fixes cars.
If you are working in tandem on some project, figure out the things you can contribute, the things the other person can contribute, and the things you might be able to cooperate on. If you both are good photographers, share the joy. Celebrate each others great Kodak moments. Then excel at the individual parts that you each will add to the whole affair.
In any kind of team effort, I think it would be good to recognize the following caution: Don't expect the other person to necessarily totally understand where you are coming from, or to bend to operate the same way you do. If you are two gears meshing together (or two jigsaw puzzle pieces fitting together), you won't be the same, but together you will form the whole. Your purpose is not to make the other conform, but together perform the task at hand.
I like the quote attributed to Mrs. Ruth Graham regarding marriage: 'If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary.’

1 comment:

Ed said...

I agree with your parable. Not only does teamwork stem from different views, but also the expediency of the task at hand.


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