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Attention to Details

I can tell I am getting older.  My tolerance for incompetency is very fragile.  The way in which the work of receptionists, assistants, and service personnel function really can be trying to one’s soul.  In visiting an office for an appointment with a professional “helper” such as doctor, attorney, accountant, or one of like stature, it is amazing the frequency of meeting someone that is a cold and crotchety receptionist.  The lack of desire to greet and accommodate a client is readily astounding.  So often, I am amazed at how little “warmth” is in the greeting of a paid receptionist and how little help they seek to give to a person’s honest questions.

Any of us can do our job so often and for so long that we just assume everybody knows the details of “what to do” in our sphere.  Truth is, the “visitor” is not up on the routine, location, and protocol of how things work in another person’s business or practice.  That is the reason for folks to be “greeters”, receptionists, helpers, assistants, and other similar roles.  Knowing that there will be questions and sometimes apprehension on the part of the customer or client about what needs to be done, those “in the know” are there to put the client or customer’s mind at ease and make the experience pleasant.  It is rare to find that person that is highly knowledgeable and also very congenial and compassionate in helping others.  Performing the details with excellence are what make some places a joy to visit and others, a dreaded necessity.

Here is what some folks of notoriety have had to say about the importance of details…..It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. (John Wooden).  To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization. (Harriet Beecher Stowe).  Passion isn’t something that lives way up in the sky, in abstract dreams and hopes. It lives at ground level, in the specific details of what you’re actually doing every day.  (Marcus Buckingham). 

Details are vital in some fields.  None of us wants to fly with a pilot that determines he does not need to follow “down to the last detail” how to take off and land an airplane.  Who wants to go to a dentist that chooses to ignore details when “pulling” or “filling” a tooth?  And, who would want to ride an elevator to the top of skyscraper if the architect and builder boasted that none of the details of proper construction were followed in the building process?  What about the non-Christian that follows a professed believer that does not seek to follow Christ diligently?

In the operating room of a large hospital, a young nurse was completing her first full day of responsibilities. “You’ve only removed 11 sponges, doctor,” she said to the surgeon. “We used 12.” “I removed them all,” the doctor declared. “We’ll close the incision now.” “No,” the nurse objected. “We used 12 sponges.” “I’ll take full responsibility,” the surgeon said grimly.   “Suture!” “You can’t do that!” blazed the nurse. “Think of the patient.” The surgeon smiled, lifted his foot, and showed the nurse the 12th sponge. “You’ll do,” he said.  (copied).

Remember King Hezekiah’s prayer to God when he thought he was about to die?  His confession is how he had lived “keeping” the details of living for the LORD…. “Remember, LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.”  (2 Kings 20:3).  May those of us that know Jesus be very sensitive to treating others with great respect and love as we live our lives with attention to detail to help them see Jesus in us!