How important are you? That is a question raised by a piece of prose that first appeared in the Wall Street Journal.
“How Important are You?
More than you think.
A rooster minus a hen equals no baby chicks.
Kellogg minus a farmer equals no corn flakes.
If the nail factory closes what good is the hammer factory?
Paderewski’s genius wouldn’t have amounted to much if the piano tuner hadn’t shown up.
A cracker maker will do better if there’s a cheesemaker.
The most skillful surgeon needs the ambulance driver who delivers the patient.
Just as Rogers needed Hammerstein
you need someone and
someone needs you.”
What do these words say to us today? Two ideas are woven through the various examples of the prose.
#1: Nobody stands alone.
“Behind every successful man,” the old quip suggests, “stands a loving wife . . . and a surprised father-in-law!”
Behind each of us, whatever we accomplish in life, stands not just a loving spouse but numerous others without whose influence we would have not accomplished anything.
Mary Lou Retton, the popular Olympic champion of a few years back, is now a popular public speaker who travels all over the country talking about the importance of TEAM. She explains the acrostic TEAM like this: Together Everyone Accomplishes More.
She’s right. Working together the church can accomplish more.
Today we describe this reality with the word “synergy.” Synergy means that the result of our combined effort is greater than the result of our individual efforts added together.
The Bible has another word for this reality. The Bible talks about “koinonia.” Fellowship. What a magnificent word! How we have minimized the meaning of that word by using it primarily to label our gatherings for cookies and punch after church. The Biblical writers had much more in mind when they used the term “koinonia.” They were talking about a partnership, a cooperative effort between believers, blessed and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
None of us stand alone. Our significance is found in our “fellowship” in the Lord.
# 2: Nobody has to stand alone
A ten year old came home from her first day of school in a new town with tears in her eyes. “What’s the matter?” her mother asked. She responded, “The only person I know at school is me!”
“Aloneness” is a terrible burden. Thinking you are alone with no one to talk to, seeing a task that seems overwhelming and having no one to help – that is a terrible burden. Or to put it in the words of the poem – a cracker without cheese, a nail without a hammer, Kellogg without a farmer – what a tragedy!
But here’s the good news. We are not alone. As Christians, we are a part of something bigger than ourselves — something that is making a difference in our world, something that is deeply rooted in history, something that is eternal.
Together, we can make a difference for God, in our community, through our church, for the world.