Brothers and Sisters in Faith,
“How much Hebrew do you know?” was the question he asked. He had taken his car to be repaired because it just was not running right. The auto mechanic looked at the car and easily resolved the problem but he berated the car owner saying that he ought to have known enough about cars to take care of the simple repair by himself. The car owner was my Hebrew professor at Northwestern College in Watertown, Wisconsin. That insulting remark from the mechanic was what led him to ask, “How much Hebrew do you know?” Of course, the mechanic did not know any Hebrew even though the Old Testament was written in Hebrew. The professor’s point was obvious. Each of us is blessed with different talents and training. The mechanic fixed cars; the professor taught Hebrew.
In the definition portion (What does this mean?) in Luther’s Catechism on the part of the Apostles Creed about God the Father are these words.
I believe that God has made me and every creature and that he gave me my body and soul, eyes, ears and all my members, my mind and all my abilities.
All of us have abilities from God but not the same kind nor necessarily the same amount. Some can run fast, others not. Some can hit the baseball out of the park; others are lucky not to strike out. Some can get good grades in school without much effort; others have to struggle to get average grades. Some are ‘naturals’ in music; others (as the old saying goes) cannot carry a tune in a bucket. Some have the ability to work well with teens; others not. Some have the special gift of encouraging, others do not. We are not all plumbers or engineers or medical people. We are different – and thank God for that. We do need a wide diversity of abilities. Serve God with what you have. Appreciate your abilities and appreciate also the abilities that God has given to others. If you have great talents, do not lord it over others. Rather use them to serve God and serve one another. If you feel that you are not talented, be careful that you are ‘not selling yourself short.’ Nor should you be jealous of those to whom God has given more.
It is true that God wants us to develop the abilities and aptitudes He has given to us. But we cannot be everything. Maybe that auto mechanic with training could have been a Hebrew professor. Perhaps with training and experience you could be a brain surgeon. Perhaps with effort and learning you could turn out to be a great encourager of others. On the other hand you might not have the abilities to be everything you want to be. We have limitations. Maybe no matter how much you desire it, no matter how hard you try, you just cannot be a concert pianist.
But we all are the same in many ways. Here are some.
- All of us are sinners and fall short of God’s glory
- All of us are born with a sinful nature
- None of us can earn forgiveness and heaven
- None of us by nature have the ability or desire to have faith in Jesus
- For all of us Jesus suffered and died and rose again.
- Each of us has been brought to faith through the working of the Holy Spirit.
- God says to us Christians, diverse as we might be in talents, race, position, status, and gender, (there are only two genders) that we are the same in status before Him. “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26-28)
- All of us are called to serve the Lord.
The well-known hymn, ‘Hark! The Voice of Jesus Crying’ touches upon some of the thoughts of this article.
Hark! The voice of Jesus crying, “Who will go and work today?
Fields are white and harvest waiting; Who will bear the sheaves away?”
Loud and long the Master calleth; Rich reward He offers thee.
Who will answer gladly saying, “Here am I, send me, send me”?
If you cannot speak like angels, If you cannot preach like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus, You can say He died for all.
If you cannot rouse the wicked With the Judgment’s dread alarms,
You can lead the little children To the Savior’s waiting arms.
If you cannot be a watchman, Standing high on Zion’s wall,
Pointing out the path to heaven, Off’ring life and peace to all,
With your prayers and with your off’rings You can do what God demands;
You can be like faithful Aaron, Holding up the prophet’s hands.
Let none hear you idly saying, “There is nothing I can do,”
While the multitudes are dying, And the Master calls for you.
Take the task He gives you gladly; Let His work your pleasure be.
Answer quickly when He calleth, “Here am I, send me, send me!”
Pastor Dan Pautz