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Too Special for Our Own Good
By Dr. Skip Myers
web posted June 11, 2007
COLUMN – We live in a specialized society. Everyone seems to know more and more about less and less. Specialized knowledge is not necessarily a bad thing. We certainly want the medical profession to continue to specialize. We see specialization in sports. There are middle relievers, long relievers, and short relievers in baseball. There are three-point specialists in basketball and the guy on the football field that does nothing but punt the ball. It seems the more you specialize the more special you actually are.
There is one thing we must consider when looking at our specialized society: specialists are only as good as the basic knowledge they apply to their specialty. Consider consulting a doctor whose specializes in diseases of the pinky finger only to find out that he has no working knowledge of any other part of the body. Your pinky finger may be suffering from something that originates in a nerve in your elbow and if he knows very little about the human nervous system he just might misdiagnose your poor pinky finger.
Imagine bringing a three-point shooter into a basketball game who can’t dribble or shoot free throws. How effective would a relief pitcher be if he couldn’t field grounders or bunts? We need our specialists to have a good working knowledge of the bigger picture surrounding what they are doing. They need to have the ability to apply the general to the specific. In most instances, the success of the specific is directly tied to the general.
I encounter people who are seeking to be better specialists--men want to be better husbands and fathers; women want to be better mothers and wives. We are constantly looking for books and seminars to help in these areas. All of which is great but we cannot forget one principle at work: to get better at the specifics we need to master the basics. If the basics are weak the specifics cannot go unaffected. Strengthening the basics can only serve to make the specifics stronger as well.
So with this in mind, let me suggest that if you want to be a better husband become a better Christian. If you want to be a better father become a better Christian. If you want to be a better wife become a better Christian. If you want to be a better mother become a better Christian. If you want to be a better employee or employer become a better Christian. The principle is simple and yet, it tends to be overlooked because of its simplicity. We want to get specifically better and forget that this may depend on us getting better in general.
I am in no way discounting the need for individualized seminars or studies on parenting, marriage, or any other area of life. We all have specifics as parents and spouses we need help with but we need to realize that the application of specific help may very well depend upon how well we apply it through the larger picture of faith at work in our lives. Ignoring the basics can only serve to weaken the platform we are building upon which the specifics will rest.
With all this in mind, there is a well-used verse of scripture that may just take on new meaning for us. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33) This is why we are told to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Loving and seeking the Lord solidifies the basics. There is a danger that we will spend too much time seeking things from the Lord instead of seeking Him. There is a danger that we will love what He does more than we love Him.
The basics are simple: love and seek the Lord and all the specifics will then be added to a foundation strong enough to support the need and the answer. Remember that you are in a relationship with the Lord and not practicing a religion. He wants you to want Him. Dedicate yourself to improving the basics: worship, Bible study, prayer, church. You will then find a better you waiting to become a better specific you. I’ll see you Sunday.
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