Posted on 09.06.2012
A couple of days ago, I was doing surgery. As we surgeons normally do, we have very pleasant and thoughtful conversations (laughter included), during the process. In any field or profession, there are sayings and jokes that are peculiar to that profession—only those involved would really understand their significance.
One of those understandings is the role of the surgeon’s assistant. It is often understood that the surgeon’s assistant is key to the success of the surgery. What this really means is that the assistant, who is often a skilled surgeon herself, is treated as highly esteemed above the surgeon by the surgeon. Thus, the surgeon often will speak highly of the assistant in front of the surgical team or those who are helping in the operating room.
Let me give you a few examples:
In the operating room, before the surgery begins, the surgeon may introduce the assistant to the patient who is on the operating table prior to receiving anesthesia. Even though the surgeon is known as “Captain of the Ship”, she may introduce the assistant and say, “he is the best,” or “he is really in charge” or “he is the master surgeon and we are fortunate to have her with us.” These accolades for the assistant by the surgeon are because the surgical assistant is important. His or her job is to “make the surgeon look good” by facilitating the surgery in such a way that there is an optimal environment for surgical success and efficiency. When I was a resident (in training), I had an attending (the doctor primarily responsible for the care of the patient) from New Jersey. Whenever a feeble resident was not living up to the role of a good surgical assistant, he would say, “Help the doctor!” This request did not intimidate me whenever I would help him in those early on-the-job-training days—he was from New Jersey, thus, he was refreshingly honest and quite funny saying this in his Jersey (“joysee”) accent!
At any rate, that day, as we were working with care and precision, my able assistant was not only making me look good, but he appropriately asked the surgical technician to make me look good. He asked her to get a retractor to hold one side of the incision open so that I could see the layer I was suturing (sewing). The surgery went very well. I had a wonderful team. With all thanks to God, the people in that operating room helped me take care of my patient. I could not have done it without them. At one point in the surgery, I laughed and said, “I need all the help I can get!”
Yes, I need help. You need help. We all need help as we walk through our earthly journey. God has given us each other to help in fulfilling the purpose he has given us as individuals. Your gifts and my gifts may be different, but we are called to aid each other along the way and make each other ”look good” for the Kingdom. Looking good means doing well! For, we are on the same team.
How can we help each other?
Brothers and Sisters, pray for one another. Encourage. Assist when God calls you to assist. Don’t give up on each other when there is failure. Study the Word to show yourself approved. Be good at what you do. Get better at what you do. Serve. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together…let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25). Let’s be great assistants and make each other “look good.” We need all the help we can get.