Wisdom to be a Utility Player
I enjoy baseball and am unashamedly a Red Sox fan. If you’re not so inclined, stay with me here, as the Red Sox actually have nothing to do with this post. In baseball, I know the names of of many pitchers and home run hitters, but I know the names of few-to-no “utility players.” Utility players are team members who play various positions as they are needed. Most often, these players aren’t household names…but their contributions are crucial to their teams. Utility players must be flexible, capable, and not too attached to their favorite positions.
The Scriptures speak of “utility players” who were chosen as such because they were full of the Spirit and wisdom. Do you quickly recognize the names of Nicanor, Timon, Procorus, Nicolas and Parmenas? Probably not.
Stephen and Philip are more well known…but these other guys were also full of wisdom and the Spirit. Who were these people?
1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.
2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.
3 Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them
4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:1-7)
These men were chosen because they were spiritual and wise. What was their first great and noble assignment born from their wisdom and spirituality?
Distribution of food to the Grecian widows.
Because it was needed.
Wyndham has switched roles numerous times throughout his work in the ministry. Some roles have been high profile and some have not. He has embraced each one equally, as his desire has always been to be used wherever he was most needed…as a player, a coach, or player coach. (fyi..he’s the cute one on the back row…2nd little ball player from the left.) He was not overly attached to a certain role, thought certainly some he enjoyed more than others. He did not allow himself to be distracted from his purpose when change happened.
I more often find change difficult, and am more at ease sticking with what I am most confident and comfortable doing, and what I enjoy the most. So, at times I’ve changed roles “kicking and screaming” inside, while complying outwardly. Even now, I’m needing to consider a new type of role, and Wyndham’s wisdom tumbles through my heart…because this is not what I want to do. Wisdom calls me to be a utility player. What does it call you to be?
God always brings blessings when I respond with humility. It does not always bring immediate joy–but there is always joy, peace, and victory in Godly surrender.
Thank you Wyndham for being a willing utility player, for whatever the need. True wisdom is born from this kind of humility. As the Acts 6 utility players joyfully fulfilled their roles, God’s word spread and many became disciples. You may not remember their names, but God did, and used their willing service to build a mighty team.