What if someone came to your workplace – or even your home – and asked, “Whose job is the most important here?” How would you answer?
Our typical first response would be whoever ranks the highest in the organization’s pecking order. In a business or non-profit, that’s usually the president, CEO or owner. In a church it most likely would be the senior pastor. In a school it would be the principal. And in a home it could be either the husband or wife – that might depend on which one you asked.
But is this really true? Is the most important person the individual with the uppermost position in the company, or the person who’s paid the most, or the top-producing salesperson? Maybe – and maybe not.
Suppose the guest restroom right off the lobby is dirty and stinky, and representatives for an important client are expected to arrive within the next half hour. How important is the custodian then?
Or consider the scenario when the celebrated, nationally known speaker has just arrived and is scheduled to address an eager audience in 10 minutes. Suddenly the power goes out, the room goes dark, and confusion is about to assume its reign. Whose job is most important now? It would probably be the in-house electrician, or the IT person if the problem happens to be computer-related.
The patient has undergone major surgery and seems to be recovering well. The renowned surgeon has done an amazing job saving the woman’s life. A few hours later, however, she begins experiencing a setback and the surgeon has long since left the hospital. The nurse arrives at the patient’s room, find her in great distress, and she immediately springs into action. At that moment, whose job is most important – the surgeon’s or the nurse’s?
We tend to assign importance to those with the most power, prestige, wealth and other status measurements. In reality, however, the most important job belongs to the person that must perform the work urgently required at the moment.
In his heyday, evangelist Billy Graham attracted millions of men, women and children to his crusades, and through those events God changed countless lives. But as gifted as Dr. Graham was, he could never have made the impact that he did were it not for the organizers of the crusades; the people who coordinated arrangements at the various venues; those that got out the publicity, and especially those that invited friends and family members to hear him preach about Jesus. So, whose jobs were more important – Dr. Graham’s or all the other folks?
The apostle Paul might not have been writing about jobs specifically, but he addressed this when he exhorted believers in the church at Philippi, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look out not only for your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
In other words, he could have said, “It’s not all about you,” or “You’re not as important as you might think you are.”
But there’s another side to this matter of important jobs. A bit later in the passage, Paul refers to the One who without question had the most important job, yet performed it with humility and without fanfare: “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross:” (Philippians 2:8).
This season, as we ponder the baby Jesus nestled in a manger in a smelly, noisy stable, let’s keep this image in the proper context. Without the cross, there would be no Christmas. No nativity scene. There was a crucially important job to be done – and only one person that could do it. And that’s why He came. While you’re nibbling on Christmas cookies, chew on that for a while.
Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at email@example.com.