A jack of all trades but a master of none? What’s that?
Science fiction writer Jack Heinlein gave us his definition. He said, “A man should know a bit about everything, but he doesn’t need to be big and important to be happy. He just needs to know the basics. It’s the small matters that count. For example, any man should be able to change a diaper, and should know how to plan an invasion. He needs to know how to slaughter a pig, how to steer a boat and what is needed to build a house. He should be able to keep the books, make a movie, write a book and set a broken bone. He needs to comfort the weak and the dying, listen to commands without offense and leads his men into battle. A man needs to be able to work alone and should also be able to work in a group. Specialization is not necessary. That is the work of insects.”
How do we measure courage, or love and faith?
At first glance, you would think that, in order to measure such things accurately, great events are needed. After all, aren’t courageous and great people the people that win mighty battles, conquer impossible mountain tops and change whole continents?
That is a form of courage and to be able to overcome great difficulties is most certainly worthy of praise. But to use such feats as the measuring rod for faith, courage and love is not wise and can be deceptive.
A better measuring stick may be the small things. How are we doing with the little things? As a missionary to China, Hudson Taylor once said, “A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness in little things is a great thing.”
When there is no praise waiting and no reward in sight and yet we still perform our job with joy and care, this is indeed a great thing.
We thank God for those exhilarating moments on top of the mountains, when the world is at our feet and we just won a great victory, but unless we take the joy and those new found lessons with us down to the valley of our common, everyday life, those great victories don’t really do anybody much good.
Jesus Himself was on top of the greatest mountains, but if we take an honest look at His life, we see that He was mostly interested in being faithful in the little things that came on His path. God is a God of details and sees even the tiniest of problems and needs and wants to teach us to be equally attentive to faithfulness in the small things.
Jesus saved one lost sinner here, and another sick person there. He could have done many more mighty miracles. Imagine that, He had all the power of the universe at His command. If He would have wanted to, He could have healed the whole nation in one great swoop of His hands. He did walk on the water, but He could have flown, just as easily.
When He was facing Pilate, He could have lifted His little finger and Pilate would have fallen to his knees, begging for mercy while blinded by a heavenly light. He could have even come down from the cross…but He didn’t. To our natural mind that may be puzzling at times.
Why doesn’t God just heal? Why do I have such difficulties with my finances? He could easily change things around. Life would be a whole lot easier if He did.
Because that isn’t God’s way. God’s way is different. God’s way leads through fields of broken humility. For in those moments, we learn how important it is to take care of the little things. The little details, the little people, and the small flowers. Then the big things will fall into place by themselves.
And during those travels, through valleys and over mountains, we get to know the One who walks beside us. He’s the same one who said, “Come unto Me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden. Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest.”
So you want to measure love, faith and courage? Then look at the small things. God’s dearest friends are usually those people who think nothing of themselves, but strangely enough, they are always around when you need them. Not to make a name for themselves, but just because they want to be a blessing.
And that’s what counts in God’s eyes.