Our daughter, Andrea, is a molecular biologist specializing in genetics. A few years ago, she was hired by a health systems company to get their genetics lab started. In addition to their pharmacogenetics testing, they have added a new venture called My Fit Key. Andrea developed the testing for this program. My Fit Key tests anyone, from couch potatoes to professional athletes, in order to determine what their DNA says about their bodies…heart, muscles, etc. It’s very fascinating!
Recently, a well-known NFL quarterback decided to send his sample in to be tested. One of the health system’s executives was very happy about this development. He came into Andrea’s office one day, full of excitement.
“So, Andrea,” he asked, “do you know a little someone named ______?”
Andrea looked at him. “Hmmmm,” she replied. “I don’t believe I do. Should I?”
Poor Mr. Executive wilted in disappointment.
“There are just TOO many scientists in this building!!” he exclaimed.
HaHaHa!!! Oh, the frustration of all those non-sports enthusiast scientists!!
I think each of us has a tendency to be drawn to the big names, whether it’s in sports or movies or any other endeavor. It’s just human nature. I know when a certain movie star is here in Wichita, whole newspaper columns are written about people’s encounters with him. I rode in the elevator with him! I saw him at Best Buy, where I watched him buy a phone charger! He came in the restaurant where I was eating! And on and on it goes. Folks have their pictures made with him, but his assistant is rarely seen in any of those pictures that are in the paper. Only the famous seem to matter.
We all know the star players, but no one knows the name of the water boy. We’re awestruck with the celebrity, but we ignore the person who cleans the bathrooms. We’re wowed by the singer, but basically ignore the ones manning the concession stand. We want to chair the committee, but not be the cook in the kitchen.
I have seen this attitude permeating Christ followers as well, unfortunately. It’s an attitude that seeps in to our thinking and then our conversations all too easily. We usually don’t even mean to do it, but how often have you heard someone say, “Well, all I can do is pray.”
As if prayer, and praying, isn’t that much but at least it’s a little something that I can do. A minor little insignificant thing, unlike the big things like preaching and teaching and singing.
There’s nothing wrong with being the quarterback, the main actor, the beautiful singer, the preacher or the teacher. I’m certainly thankful for some of these individuals in many ways.
But there’s also nothing wrong with being the person who does the “only’s” in life. We’ve all felt this way at one time or another. We’ve all heard it said – or said it ourselves.
“I’m only a mom.”
“I’m only the cook.”
“I’m only sitting in the pew.”
“I’m only cleaning the building.”
“I’m only sending some cards in the mail.”
“I’m only one person.”
“I’m only praying.”
I am especially thinking of persons who get sidelined in life. Being sidelined is not fun. We all know that the quarterback is devastated when he’s sidelined with an injury. He’s forced to watch the game go on without him while others take his place. Sitting the game out is NOT what he signed up for!
Sometimes we’re sidelined in our lives…sidelined due to illness, moving, stress, age, being replaced, or any number of other reasons. It’s such a difficult place to be, especially when you’ve grown to love being active in the mainstream.
I was recently talking to my sister, Kathryn. What a turn her life took years ago due to numerous and debilitating health issues! She went from working full time and being a very supportive and active pastor’s wife to being basically homebound, unable to even go to church. As we talked, she casually mentioned to me that she prays. The one thing that she can do all during her days, even if she’s lying in bed, is to pray.
But that ONE thing is a HUGE thing!!!
And I told her that!
How busy my days sometimes are…too busy to always pray like I should and like I want to. My mind gets crowded with too many other issues and my calendar is full, and if I’m not careful, my busyness and my tiredness affect my prayer life.
But Kathryn prays, all through her day at home…she prays by individual name for family and friends and church and our nation and so much more, I’m sure.
I wasn’t just trying to make Kathryn feel good about her situation when I told her what a huge thing her prayer life is. James said the same thing!
“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16, ESV)
Our power doesn’t come from our position. Our power comes through our prayers. It’s God Who hears us, answers us, and is delighted when we pray.
So, if today you’re sidelined, don’t see yourself as being “less than” or useless. Grab your situation with joy and see it as a treasured time to pray.
Only in eternity will we know fully what God accomplished because of our secluded times of prayer!