I will often refer to myself as a “jack of all trades; master of none.” I think it is a good description for me – I can do a lot of things, but none of them very well. It’s sort of like being a utility player on a baseball team. Now, for those of you who are not familiar our American Pastime, a utility player is someone that can play a lot of different positions but would never be a “starter” on a team. He would never make the All-Star team and certainly would not be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Those honors are reserved for the superstars. Every team needs superstars to win the pennant, but they also need utility players. They need dependable players to come in when the superstars are not able to and fill a hole for a period of time.
Most of us are “utility players” for the Lord. We are not superstars. We are not nationally known speakers, great authors, powerful apologists, or Biblical scholars. But just like in baseball, God needs utility players! He needs us to “fill a hole” when there is a hole to fill. Perhaps that means teaching a children’s Sunday school class, filling the pulpit when the pastor is away, or working with the children or youth. Perhaps your office needs to have a Bible study started? There are many things we can do for the Lord, despite not being a “superstar.”
In Matthew 25, Jesus told the parable about the talents. A talent was a unit of coinage used back in Biblical times in Israel. I believe that is where we get our English word for “talent.” Jesus told of a master that was going away and gave to three of his servants some talents to be invested. To one, he gave five; to another, he gave two; and to the third, he gave only one. We can speculate why the master did this, but that is not important. What is important is what the servants did with the money. Two invested their shares and made more money for the master while the third – the one that was given only one – buried it in the ground and did nothing with it. The point Jesus was trying to make here is that God, our Master, has given us all talents to use for His Kingdom.
Not all of us have been given equal amounts of talents. Some people are masterful musicians; others can paint on canvas beautifully; still others are great orators. But He has given ALL of us talents to use. Do not ever say, “I have no talents” because then you are accusing God of being unfair and a liar. He has given to each of us talents to use. If you do not think you have talents, it’s just because you have not discovered them yet. Discover your talent, sharpen it, and get ready to use it for the Lord, because you never know when He is going to call on you.
I want to leave you with one more story – again, about baseball. The New York Yankees were a powerhouse team back in the early 20th century, winning many world series titles and having a line up of superstars. One of those superstars was Wally Pipp, their first baseman. Pipp led the league in home runs in 1916 and 1917 and, by all accounts, he looked like he was going to be the Yankees first baseman for the foreseeable future. Sitting on the Yankees bench was a young player named Lou Gehrig. Gehrig was also a first baseman but probably thought he would never have an opportunity to play for the Yankees, at least not with Pipp around. One day, Manager Miller Huggins decided to pull Pipp out of the game and gave Gehrig a chance to play. Gehrig went on to play 2,130 consecutive games – equivalent to almost 14 full seasons – and never looked back. Pipp’s career with the Yankees was over.
Why do I tell that story? Because you never know when God is going to call upon you and you need to be ready. You may be a superstar waiting for that opportunity, like Gehrig was. Or you may be God’s utility player that He needs to fill a hole in the lineup. Either way, you are important to the “team.” Although the likelihood of Gehrig getting to play for the Yankees was slim, he was ready to go into the game that day. Be ready for the call because you do not know when it is going to happen. Jesus said in Matthew 25:13, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Whether that means when He is going to call you to serve or to call you home, the need to be ready is the same. Keep watch! Be ready! And, when called upon, go!