I don’t know if you saw it, but recently Apple produced an intriguing TV commercial for its iPad. One reason I noticed the ad is it featured the Ohio State University marching band, along with people from a broad range of other pursuits, all using the tablet for their various activities. What stuck with me, however, was the question it posed.
The voiceover during the commercial stated, in part:
“Each of us has something to share. A voice, a passion, a perspective. The potential to add a stanza to the world’s story…. What will your verse be?”
Simple, concise words, but they pack a wallop of insight. We’ve become seduced by the superstar mentality, wrongly believing that only people whose names appear in news headlines or on magazine covers are those with something to offer. That is far from true. Our lives might not merit a segment on the evening news, but we all have unique gifts, talents and interests that can make a difference in the lives of people God has placed in our special spheres of influence.
|This quote from Charles Lindbergh reflects the life|
of a man willing to dare, to explore the limits
of human achievement.
What is your voice, passion, or perspective? For some people, it’s endangered or abused animals. For others it’s children in poverty or confronting serious needs. There are many people who share a passion for the advancement of the arts. Then there are political causes, literacy, the environment, or countless other passions that can consume our thoughts, time and energy.
If you’ve read more than one or two of my posts in this blog, you have a sense of what mine are: Communicating the relevance and practical value of the Bible – which I believe to be the true Word of God – and challenging others to apply and integrate its timeless principles into every area of their lives. That’s my passion, my perspective, shaped over more than 30 years study, discussion and experience.
But the portion of the Apple commercial’s script that intrigued me most was the idea we each possess the potential “to add a stanza to the world’s story.” If, over the course of your lifetime, you can make a difference in the life of at least one or two people, you’ll be inserting your own stanza into the narrative of the world.
We often think of composers, poets, statesmen, scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs that have had that kind of impact. But what about a homemaker; someone performing clerical work; a sales person in a retail store; a server in a restaurant, or someone who sets aside an hour or two every week to befriending and mentoring a child from a low-income, single-parent home?
If we had the opportunity to engage in something big, to become a participant in a highly publicized enterprise, most of us would jump at the chance. Why not? We all want to make a splash, a tremendous difference, right? But the little stuff, those behind-the-scenes duties no one seems to notice – who cares about that?
Well, for starters, God cares. In a passage familiar to many of us, Jesus told the "parable of the talents," a story of servants entrusted with varying amounts of money to manage during their master’s absence. Upon his return, the owner asked each for an accounting of how they had used the money. As it turned out, two of the three servants had invested the funds and reaped a considerable return.
To both the master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness” (Matthew 25:14-30).
God has uniquely and specifically equipped each of us for a particular impact on the world around us, to “add our stanza to the world’s story.” But individually we must take the initiative to ensure that stanza is written. The Lord won’t do it for us. He’ll provide the opportunities; He’s already given us the abilities, talent and expertise. Now it’s our job to put them all to use.
So the question that begs for our answer is the one from the Apple ad: “What will your verse be?”
As I write this, I think of several people close to me whose verses have been finalized. The ink has dried, but the stanzas they wrote continue to resonate. Parts of them were inscribed on my own heart. My hope is that for someone somewhere, a portion of my verse, my stanza, will remain indelible on their heart as well. Proverbs 27:17 states, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” God has used others to sharpen me over the years. My hope is that for someone else, I’ve been used as a sharpener.
So again I present the question of the day, one that ultimately can lead each of us to an assessment of whether we’ve lived a life worth living: What will your verse be?