One of my favorite sermon illustrations goes like this:
Once upon a time the animals decided they should do something meaningful to meet the challenges of the new world. They developed an activity curriculum of climbing, swimming, running and flying. To make the administration easier all the animals took all the subjects.
The duck was excellent in swimming, in fact better than the instructor. But her grades in flying were barely passing.
Her running grade was very low because she was so slow.
Since she was so slow she had to drop swimming, which she really enjoyed, to spend extra time running. This running caused her webbed feet to be badly worn, so that by the end of the semester she was only an average swimmer.
The rabbit was at the top of the class in running. Swimming however was a challenge. She developed a nervous twitch in her leg muscles because of the make-up work in swimming. Her speed fell off because of this nervous muscle twitch.
The squirrel was excellent in climbing, but he was always in trouble in flying class. The teacher insisted that he start from the ground and go up, but he wanted to start in the treetops and go down. He developed cramps in his legs because of over exertion and his grades fell in climbing, which he enjoyed most, to a “C.” His flying teacher gave him a “D” because he could not follow instructions.
The eagle was always being disciplined. For instance in climbing class he beat everyone to the top of the tree, but he insisted on using his own way to get there…flying.
Of course we know that each animal has its own natural abilities that it was designed to use. The only way the animal fails is if it is forced to do something it was not gifted to do. What is true of the animals of the forest is also true of us. God has not made us all the same. Each of us is unique and has different likes, dislikes, gifts and talents.
It has been my experience that many times churches will attempt to fill a need with a warm body without regard to what that person is really gifted at. This tends to cause undue stress and the job is halfheartedly done, if it is done at all. Other organizations do the same thing. You just can’t stretch a duck into a runner. Let her swim!
In business it is called the “Peter Principle”; promoting someone one level past their competence. It is commonly said, “Employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence.”
So, discover your natural abilities and enjoy them. Realize when you are out of your ability realm; its ok, somebody else has that ability. Let them do it.
Rabbits don’t fly. Eagles don’t swim. Squirrels don’t have feathers. Ducks look funny trying to climb trees. What exactly are you designed to do? Find it & do it. You life will be more enjoyable and rewarding.