When I was a kid, I remember reading this children’s book about a bulldog1. (Special thanks to those who made it possible for there to be a good library in the small town where I grew up.) In the first part of the book, this dog couldn’t figure out why his face was different from other breeds of dogs. After all, his nostrils were in an unusual place, and his teeth were weird. If this dog were in a modern book, he would probably have an identity crisis or a self-image issue. I’m not sure if these topics were a big deal in the 70’s, but the same message was still there.
One day, though, the dog’s owner was attacked by a bull. Instinctively, the dog bit the bull, and suddenly realized that his unusually-designed visage was perfectly suited for protecting his owner. His teeth locked together, and he could still breathe while his jaw was clamped shut, protecting his owner and preventing the bull from shaking him loose. While our little canine hero may not have been just like the other dogs, he was uniquely built for an important purpose.
I was reading from Romans 12 the other day – a passage I have probably read or heard many times before:
Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
Romans 12:3-5 NLT
While reading this, though, I realized that – just in the past few days at work – God had placed challenges before me, for which he had uniquely prepared me. I’m not suggesting that I’m smarter or better than anyone else, but my years with the company, and the things that God had helped me to learn, all aligned together into my being able to deliver some challenging tasks. Thanks to His blessing, positioning, and timing, I dare say that no one else in the company had the right combination of background and developed skills to figure those out that week (at least, not with the same efficiency). Praise God!
This came at a time when I was really trying to figure out if I was using God’s gifts in the way that He wanted me to. Work can be frustrating and challenging, but it seemed – at least for that week – that it was my purpose to bring together what He had given me, in order to do something for which He had prepared me.
Having said that, I believe that followers of Jesus are called to use their gifts especially for His Kingdom, but I don’t believe that what we have been given is to be limited to just special “sanctified” activities. God loves everyone, and if I could help someone get home to have dinner with their family that evening, because they didn’t have to reverse-engineer something that I had already learned, I hope that they had the chance to glorify Him as a result.
Now, I didn’t change the world that week. As I recall, I just wrote a few database queries, and a specification or two. I didn’t see a bunch of people immediately choose to follow Jesus. But I think that, in this revelation, God changed me.
May you, in the same way, find that you have opportunities today to accomplish exactly what God made you to do, in the place where He put you, and for the glory that He deserves. And, if you need a holy reminder, I encourage you to read all of Romans 12:1-8.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
- Thanks to eclectic information on the Internet, and a few searches, I was actually able to locate the name of this book, “The ugliest dog in the world“, by James Holding. I mentioned that to my family since initially capturing these thoughts, and they were kind enough to pick up a copy for me, if only for nostalgia! ↩