Having spent a number of years as a Minister of the Word I have found myself in the hospital many times – mostly in visits intended to encourage people who were sick. The last two weeks my wife and I have both become even better acquainted with those institutions, this time from the other side of the table, as it were. We have been treated well and in both cases our health problems were addressed with skill, hospitality and success. In this time we have come to appreciate the work that people in our hospitals do more than ever before. Near the elevator door and in other positions throughout the facility there are placards posted which identify their aims. As I have read these I have been impressed with how similar the work of the hospital and the work of the church are. I think this only natural since our Leader in the church is called “The Great Physician” and He is the One with Whose “stripes we are healed.” Mat 9:12; Isaiah 53:5
In one group of aims this is stated: “Be forthright and truthful in all our actions. Treat all with dignity. Treat everyone as an individual, valuing differences and unique contributions.” Would this not make every congregation one that it would be enjoyable to work and worship with? We all would like to be treated this way and for it to work, we all have to treat each other this way.
The next group of aims says: “Take personal responsibility to make things better every day. Get involved. Be creative. Take initiative. Welcome feedback, acknowledge and learn from mistakes and seek improvement. Continually, expand knowledge and sharpen skills. Strive to perform reliable and timely service.” Imagine a congregation of God’s people who tried to live by these rules! Their growth would be rapid. Their influence would be widespread. All these points are scriptural. “Expand knowledge” sounds a lot like “Study to shew yourself approved unto God a workman…” II Tim. 2:15
The hospital placard continued under the heading “Teamwork” with these suggestions for their employees: “Listen and communicate openly. Recognize each other for exceptional service. Be positive.
Enjoy others. Celebrate successes and share laughter. Welcome ideas and value the concerns of others. Support group planning, problem solving and individual responsibility as a part of a team.” As church members we strive to fulfill these alms, not because they are on a hospital’s list of suggestions, but because we are members of His body having the same care one for another, and rejoicing or suffering with fellow-member. I Cor. 12