Latex Gloves and Woolly Mittens
I used to be pretty enamored with latex gloves when I was growing up. I’d pull them onto my hands and snap them into place like a skilled surgeon prepping for the operating room. When I got bored with playing doctor I could always take those same gloves and blow them up like balloons or put them on my head to pretend I was a rooster. Hours of fun. Literally.
I also grew up in Colorado, which means that I was basically born in a snow drift. Growing up I remember wearing thick, heavy mittens whenever I went out to go sledding or make a snowman. By the way, what was with the string connecting the pair of mittens, affectionately known as the idiot string? Whenever Mom put your mittens on she strung that string through the arms of your coat so you didn’t lose your mittens. That was great until somebody got the bright idea that pulling one of the mittens really hard caused you to almost punch yourself in the face. What a brilliant idea.
Are both types of gloves practical? Yes. Are their functions the same? No. Latex gloves are great for surgery and administering a flu shot but would be terrible for holding off the wind chill or making a snowman. Woolly mittens are great for packing a snowball but would be absolutely useless for performing surgery.
Just because two things are of the same type does not mean that they should serve in the same function. Two people can both be friendly but if one is an extrovert and the other is introverted, the introvert is probably not the better choice to be in public relations. A small group leader and a senior pastor might both communicate well to people but they might feel completely out of their league if they traded roles with each other.
Our job is to know the unique role that God has given to us and to celebrate the unique skill set He’s given us for our specific roles. He’s put us in specific situations for specific reasons and our calling is to figure out what those reasons are and play our part.
Trying to fill a role that we were never created for is as bad as using latex gloves to build a snowman: it might work but you’re going to quickly wish you had a pair of woolly mittens, idiot string and all.