Yogi Berra was the catcher for the New York Yankees. Hank Aaron was the right-fielder for the Milwaukee (now Atlanta) Braves. Both men would get elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame following their illustrious playing careers. As a famous story goes, though, they once had a memorable encounter during a 1957 World Series game between their teams.
Berra was well known as a talker, and his talking extended to conversations he would have with opposing batters as he sat in his catcher’s crouch. While it was true that Berra was naturally friendly, his conversations with batters had an ulterior motive. He figured that if he could keep a hitter distracted by talking, the hitter would stand less of a chance of being successful against Yankee pitching.
As the story goes, when Berra saw Aaron walking toward the batter’s box, Berra said out loud, “All right, Hank is getting ready to bat.” Berra hoped that Hank would take the bait by responding, but Hank didn’t say a word. Not deterred, Berra kept talking. He said, “Hank, you need to hold the bat so that you can read the words on the label. You’re gonna break that bat. You’ve got to be able to read the label.” Hank, however, without bothering to check the positioning of his bat, simply replied, “I didn’t come here to read.” ZING!!!
Every now and then each of us would do well to reflect upon our lives and ask, “Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing here?” While anyone could benefit from such contemplation, the Christian actually has an exceptionally important responsibility in this area. You see, Christian, God saved you to be a servant not a sensation. If His sole purpose in saving you was to take your soul to heaven, He could have put you to death immediately following your salvation experience. But He didn’t do that. That must mean that He has work that He wants you to do for Him.
Acts 13:36 says that David “…served his own generation by the will of God…” (N.K.J.V.). In other words, David spent his time wisely. He didn’t waste it by doing stuff that wasn’t productive in terms of his service to God. The young David tended sheep, and he did that not just in service to his father but also in service to God. The teenage David played his harp, and he did that not just in service to King Saul but also in service to God. The teenage David defeated the giant Goliath, and he did that not just in service to Israel but also in service to God. King David united Israel’s twelve tribes, led the people in conquering Jerusalem, made the city Israel’s capital, and brought the Ark of the Covenant to the city, and he did all that not just in service to his nation but also in service to God. The elderly David secured the plans and the provisions that would enable Solomon to build the temple, and he did that not just in service to Solomon but also in service to God.
Was David perfect? Of course not. Did he sin? Absolutely. Not only could his resume list all his marvelous achievements, it could also list his adulterous affair with Bathsheba, his murder of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah, and his fateful decision to take a census of Israel. Each of those actions produced consequences that were absolutely devastating. Still, though, by God’s own assessment, David served his generation by the will of God. Shepherd boy? Check. Harp player? Check. Giant slayer? Check. Military conqueror? Check. King? Check. Organizer of Israel’s priestly order? Check. Organizer of Israel’s musicians and worship leaders? Check. Organizer of Israel’s military divisions? Check. Psalm writer? Check. Temple designer? Check. Collector of the offering to fund the building of the temple? Check. The greatest human king Israel ever had? Check. Surely David couldn’t have accomplished all these things during his lifetime had he not constantly been about God’s business.
Christian, I’m not saying that you have to match David’s prolific body of service if you want your life to be pleasing to God. What I’m saying is that God has things that He wants you to do, deeds that have your personal name on them. He has “sheep” that He wants you to tend, “harps” that He wants you to play, “giants” that He wants you to defeat, “psalms” that He wants you to write, and “temples” that He wants you to envision.
You ask, “But how do I know what these things are?” Your answers naturally flow out of your prayer life. As you pray, make a regular point of asking God to burden you about the acts of service that He has in mind for you, and then look for the doors He opens so that you can perform those acts. Like David, do what you are on this earth to do: serve God according to His will. I assure you that the masses aren’t lining up to do that, and your generation needs every bit of help it can get from you.