Last year I joined a basketball league. After putting together a team I soon realized something very important – I was the tallest player on my team. Without knowing me, that might not right alarm bells for you, but you must understand that I am only 6’1 and that is on a good hair day. You see, when I put together the team, I tried to put together a team with a lot of skill. We had speed, sound defense, good outside shooters, and everything you needed to be successful… except for height. We were ready to out-hustle our opponents every single game, and we believed we could win using this strategy.
A few weeks later we walked into the arena for our very first game. That feeling of confidence quickly diminished when we realized their SHORTEST player was about 6’5. Before the game even began, the team was crippled by fear, wondering how they would possibly compete. We didn’t believe we going to be able to defend near the basket and how would we score on offense? Instead of sticking to our strengths, we adjusted and tried to “man up” by playing their style of basketball – we thought we could beat them at their game irregardless of our height differential. As we continued to play, we realized most every team was bigger than we were. We lost our first 10 games before we finally realized that we had been playing this basketball season all wrong, we’d abandon our skills and we were too worried about improving our weaknesses, a weakness we in reality could never change. This resulted in an overall ineffective team and a poor start to the season.
As you consider your role in the Kingdom of God and the team of people he has put around you – are you all playing to your strengths? There are so many opportunities to make a positive difference in the world today, yet for some reason many are locked up by fear and afraid of utilizing their God-given strengths to reach their nearby communities, schools, and neighbors. Personally, growing up in the Church, I have witnessed that many people tend to do this same kind of outreach. Typically, the same few participate in reaching their community, while the other Church members stay away because they feel the particular activity the others are participating in isn’t something they can best contribute to. The select few then serve at food kitchens, housing projects, etc…, while everyone else can easily be found stuck at building we call the Church, failing to ever go out and impact their local community.
God has given us strengths for a reason and it is when we discover what our strengths are, and how we can use them within our community, that we see the greatest results. I encourage you to consider, what are the spiritual strengths that are unique to you? Are you utilizing those gifts or are you playing above your “height,” trying to impact in a way that’s not playing to your particular strengths? These are all simple questions, yet it wasn’t until we made these connections that the basketball season turned around and it wasn’t until I made this change in my personal ministry that I saw tremendous growth in my spiritual journey, allowing me to be most effective for the Kingdom of God.