One morning, my 3-year-old son Gavin was working very hard on a project. He had a set of flashcards laid out perfectly in the floor, and he was taking his mother and me through each card in alphabetical order. "What comes next after B?" "Okay, what comes next after C?" And on down the line.
Andrew, our 2-year-old, was sitting beside him and wanted in on the action. He kept trying to grab the cards, which was causing Gavin to get very upset. Finally, Gavin yelled out, "No, Andrew! You're messing them up!" Gavin had been extremely careful in laying out the cards, and now someone else had come along and messed with his perfect display.
I replied, "Gavin, calm down, son. Andrew just wants to play too, and you have to let him play."
As soon as these words left my mouth, I knew my Heavenly Father had just imparted an important lesson to me.
The previous night, I had struggled mightily with some editing that was done on my writing. I had worked extremely hard on this piece, poring over every single word. Having gone through it several days in a row, I did everything I could to get it just right—romantically doting over every last jot and tittle. Then I submitted it to someone who made several changes before sending it on to the senior editor. The person who made the initial changes is not really an editor per se—they’re in more of a business position—and I did not like or agree with the changes he had made.
"Didn't he realize the kind of detailed thought I had put into this masterpiece of prose?" I wondered. "Apparently not."
When I had woken up the next morning, I realized that the changes they made were actually fine. They weren’t any big deal. I also realized that the story wasn't about me anyway—it was about God and what He was doing.
But now, the Lord was giving me a more personal reason to embrace this type of interaction with my Christian brothers and sisters. The guy who edited me has a place in God's Kingdom, and he wants to play too!
“If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’” (1 Corinthians 12:19-21).
When doing the Lord’s work, we have to remember that we are part of a body. It’s important to recognize that we need each other, and we certainly shouldn’t begrudge the role that others play in our ministry efforts. When we adopt an accepting, inclusive attitude toward the role others play, we will bear more fruit, and the work will be a lot more fun.