Have you ever been singled out? Perhaps your name was picked from a whole collection of names to win some fabulous prize. Perhaps you were called upon to give the answer. Or perhaps your phone number was randomly selected to take part in the wonderful “air duct cleaning promotional sale” going on in your neighbourhood right now, if you would just give the square footage of your home…
I had the privilege of being singled out last week in a way that made me smile. I was scheduled to do a workshop in a school not too far from my house. It was a bit rainy outside, but was pleasantly greeted and welcomed into a neat and tidy classroom full of whimsical decorations and clean, open spaces. On the whiteboard was a daily calendar, weather charts and other routines… and there I was, clearly labelled as the object of the day! Hand drawn in red marker, the teacher had pencilled me in as someone special! And even though she had never met me before, her preconceived ideas of “scientist” even had me wearing glasses! (Which is true, in my case). It made me gush a bit.
Here I was, singled out as someone special. Something to look forward to. Someone worthy enough to be pegged into the daily calendar. An event that will be talked about the following day, and perhaps in a month’s review. Talk about big expectations to fill. Which got me thinking… how do we get singled out? And how do we single out others?
Of course, we love to be singled out for positive things: promotions, special gifts, pats on the back. We are thrilled when someone remembers our birthday and brings gifts and lavishes us with goodies. We appreciate acknowledgements of jobs well done, and ribbons of next level accomplishments. Sometimes those things are well deserved — recognition of hard work, dedication and fruitful service. Hmmn… maybe mothers should get the gifts on your birthday. Afterall, what did you actually do on that day? (But that’s a whole other discussion…)
The Bible reminds us how unique we are. Psalms tell us that each of us are uniquely handcrafted by our Maker. Every fine detail of our being specifically designed for His purpose and pleasure. That alone should make us smile. But it goes beyond our physical. Our jobs as Jesus followers are to be examples to a fallen world. We are the lights in someone else’s darkness. We are singled out to be the only one to do that job, in that moment, for that person. Scary thought, isn’t it?
And so I muse, am I doing it ? Am I fulfilling my pencilled in mark on someone else’s daily calendar? Am I living up to the expectations someone else has of me? Am I doing my best to be the person God wants me to be? Obviously, we, as flawed humans, often fail in our attempts to be God’s ultimate example. We are not called to be perfect. We are called to be honest. To strive for our best, and to be open when we struggle. To rely on His timing, and trust in His providence. And allow Him to shape and mold us along the journey.
October is pastor appreciation month in our neck of the woods. It’s good for us to single out our shepherds and remind them of jobs well done. But we are all part of the herd. Yes, our Lord knows each of us by name, and we hear His voice. But we are part of a bigger picture, intricately melded together, along with all of our flaws and imperfections, to interlock into this vast puzzle that God, in His magnificent wisdom, is fitting together to create a masterpiece!