Healthy Leaders


Learning from Jigsaw Puzzles

Alan SmithAlan Smith

Everything I Needed to Know About Life I Learned From a Jigsaw Puzzle

  1. Don’t force a fit ‒ if something is meant to be, it will come together naturally.
  2. When things aren’t going so well, take a break. Everything will look different when you return.
  3. Be sure to look at the big picture. Getting hung up on the little pieces only leads to frustration.
  4. Perseverance pays off. Every important puzzle went together bit by bit, piece by piece.
  5. When one spot stops working, move to another. But be sure to come back later (see #4).
  6. The creator of the puzzle gave you the picture as a guidebook. Refer to the Creator’s guidebook often.
  7. Variety is the spice of life. It’s the different colors and patterns that make the puzzle interesting.
  8. Working together with friends and family makes any task fun.
  9. Establish the border first. Boundaries give a sense of security and order.
  10. Don’t be afraid to try different combinations. Some matches are surprising.
  11. Take time often to celebrate your successes (even little ones).
  12. Anything worth doing takes time and effort. A great puzzle can’t be rushed.
  13. When you finally reach the last piece, don’t be sad. Rejoice in the masterpiece you’ve made and enjoy a well-deserved rest.
(Copyright 2001, Jacquie Sewell)

There’s much good advice in there for Christian living.  Take #7, for example.  There is much variety in the Lord’s church ‒ not only variety of color, but variety of background, and variety of temperament.

Some Christians would be happy if they were locked in a room filled with books, totally isolated from society; other Christians would go crazy if they didn’t have contact with people on a regular basis.  Some Christians are fascinated by the theological arguments of the writer of Hebrews; other Christians are more moved by the depth of emotion expressed in the Psalms.  Some Christians most enjoy expressing their love through doing things to help other people; other Christians get a great deal of satisfaction by writing notes of encouragement or giving hugs.

We sometimes wish that everybody else in the church was “just like me,” but the things that make us different are actually a blessing.  In I Corinthians 12, Paul compared the church to a human body.  He wrote:

If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing?  If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?  But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.  And if they were all one member, where would the body be? (1 Cor. 12:17-19)

Though it sometimes gets frustrating, be thankful for the differences between us.  We need the things which other Christians have to offer.  It is that variety which allows the church to function as a body.  Those differences make us stronger.  Thank God for the variety!

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Alan Smith