A recent advertisement for College Football has a player make the following statement, “As individuals we are all equal, however that is not true for teams”. The implication being that some teams are better than other teams. However, I would suggest that as individuals we are not all equal.
O certainly, I believe that we are all created as “image-bearers of God”. That is equality on one level. I appreciate the statement written in our Constitution, “We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. However that does not make us all equal at many different levels.
I loved as a child and even as a grown up to play sports. But at my height I will never be the center for the Phoenix Suns. I am fairly good at playing baseball/softball but I will never take the place of a major league baseball player. The golf course is much friendlier place for Tiger Woods than for me. The list goes on as to what I am able to achieve and what I am not able to achieve. My wife and daughter have skills in areas I am inferior to their skills.
But that should not surprise us. Jesus teaches a parable about talents. The amounts are different. Ranging from ten to one, each person is given talents. If I may translate into abilities, it is true is it not that different people have different skills. Some individuals are able to achieve an “A” average throughout their academic life while others working just as diligently achieve a “C” average. (In my mind unfairly we treat the “A” student with more respect than we do the “C” student.) Our society is made up of individuals with different levels of talent and different abilities.
I sometimes wonder if we recognize that in the church. Many times we have sign-up sheets that ask for volunteers to do certain tasks within the church and folks sign-up without any thought about is this person the right person for this task? I have experienced churches install council members into office just because they finally were able to persuade someone to take the office of elder or deacon. Not to be partial, I believe that Pastors are not equal when it comes to preaching, teaching, counseling, administration and whatever else is expected of them.
I know we have a “Discover Your Gifts” workshop. At one time I felt it was somewhat artificial but today I believe it is one tool to sort through the process of what church member best fits a certain task within the church. A second affirmation is the fellow members of the church agreeing that a certain person has these certain gifts.
My point for the elders is: “How well do we choose individuals to do certain functions within the Church?” Do we recognize that we are not all equal? What God expects of us is to use what he has given us and to use it to the best of our ability without “burying” it. How well do we practice what is taught in the Parable of the Talents?