. . . if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.—Romans 12:7-8
I was a pretty slick middle infielder in high school baseball. Shortstop or second base, it really didn’t matter, I could competently range in the hole or turn a double play. Don’t get me wrong—I wasn’t amazing, but I was a solid enough defender to stay in the lineup despite my lackluster hitting.
Then I went to college. I went as a soccer player, but the lure of a bit more scholarship dollars had me signing the dotted-line and playing on the baseball team as well, and, of course, playing middle infield.
I was the third-string second baseman for most of my freshman year, and then, midway through the season, the coach decided we would have a practice dedicated to running the 40-yard dash, over and over again. We couldn’t do much right on the field, so I guess our coach figured he’d find something none of us could screw up.
And this is where things changed for me. Repeatedly my times were sub four-and-a-half seconds, dipping below 4.4 several times. For those without a sports background, this means I was very fast.
My coach’s stoic assessment was, “Gordon, you’re very fast.”
And that was the day I moved to centerfield.
It was a whole new world out there as an outfielder, sprinting and diving and actually feeling like the ballplayer I was meant to be (still not a great one, but at least realizing full potential!). And it wasn’t that I was a useless before or that I wasn’t technically a “baseball player,” but I wasn’t being fulfilled nor was I having maximum impact on the game.
And so it goes in terms of faith, life, and purpose. Without assessing what it is God put inside us to use, we often spend years toiling in the dirt when we were meant for the grass.
God fearfully and wonderfully made each of us with a plan in place, and tools necessary for completing said plan in a joyous, life-giving way.
We must strive to find our unique gifts and steward said gifts well to the glory of God. And in doing that, we will find the precise purpose for which we were created.