One of a Kind

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Contrary to the popular marketing slogan, one size usually doesn’t fit all.

Oh, that may be true of wristwatches, neck chains, bicycle helmets, T-shirts made of certain stretchable fabrics, and baseball caps with adjustable bands.

But it certainly doesn’t apply to suits, dresses, shoes, and just about every aspect of human life where getting things right truly matters.

As John Ortberg points out in his book The Me I Want to Be, “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning” may constitute decent medical advice for many aches and pains.  But it would be serious malpractice for a burst appendix.   

New moms and dads may resolve, “No matter how many kids we have, we’ll treat them each exactly the same way.” But even children who grow up in the same home with the same parents, watch the same Disney movies, and eat the same green beans may turn out to be dramatically different when it comes to motivations, fears, and hopes. 

People are not the same.  We are God’s unique creations.  One size does not fit all.

Ortberg observes, “If we really want to help someone grow, we will have to help them in a way that fits their wiring.”  He then points out that God is a master at this task, since he knows precisely what each person needs.  John then rolls our a series of examples:

[God] had Abraham take a walk, Elijah take a nap, Joshua take a lap, and Adam take the rap.

He gave Moses a forty-year time out, he gave David a harp and a dance, and he gave Paul a pen and scroll.

He wrestled with Jacob, argued with Job, whispered to Elijah, warned Cain, and comforted Hagar.

He gave Aaron an altar, Miriam a song, Gideon a fleece, Peter a name, and Elisha a mantle.

Jesus was stern with the rich young ruler, tender with the woman caught in adultery, patient with the disciples, blistering with the scribes, gentle with the children, and gracious with the thief on the cross.

Ortberg concludes, “God never grows two people the same way.  God is a handcrafter, not a mass-producer.”

In one of Israel’s most famous stories, the young shepherd boy David – probably not yet old enough to get a driver’s license in your home state – convinces cowardly King Saul that he can take on the Philistine giant Goliath in representative combat.  David has no military training and not a stitch of protective clothing.  The least Saul can do is offer his armor.

“Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic.  He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head.  David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them” (I Samuel 17:39-40).  This was a nice idea that was never going to work.  As Ortberg puts it, Saul was a 52 long and David was a 36 regular.

The teenager walks to a nearby wadi – a dry brook – and selects five smooth stones for his sling.  He will only need one of them.

What can we learn from a story that’s been with us for something like 3,000 years?  We’re not called to spend the rest of our lives trying on Saul’s armor.  One size does not fit all.

As the old saying goes, “God does not call those who are equipped.  He equips those he calls.”  Most of us already have at hand the tools we need to slay our giants – our own version of five smooth stones.  We may simply have overlooked them – especially if others have been earnestly trying to convince us to try this program or pursue that technique in order to serve God.

God has a plan to grow your heart for him.  It won’t look exactly like anyone else’s.

That’s because you didn’t arrive in this world after tumbling off a divine conveyor belt.

You’re one of a kind