In little league baseball, players are defined by their positions. The bigger and slower players tend to be placed at first and third base. Small guys are a good fit at second base. You need someone with a strong arm at shortstop. The fastest player on the team is a great fit for center field. And let’s face it, the least experienced players are usually thrown out into right field. Each position is so unique that it takes time and effort to develop the skills necessary to play at each respected spot. It’s not so easy to make a catcher an outfielder or the third baseman the pitcher, etc. But there are certain players, who although don’t excel at a given position, are naturally talented at multiple positions. These ballplayers are invaluable to their managers as they can be called on at a moment’s notice to fill in where needed. These players are often referred to as “utility players.”
In Major League Baseball, playing multiple positions is an even tougher feat. In 2017, Detroit Tigers’ utility player Andrew Romine was the fifth player ever to play all nine positions in one game. Manager Brad Ausmus said of Romine, “He’s not a guy that wants or gets a lot of attention. He’s unique in the sense that he can play pretty much anywhere, and you feel comfortable with him there…” (Click for article). Romine is a prime example of a utility player: an average ballplayer that can fill in any given night but not necessarily the star player of the team.
I believe God has called all Christians to be “utility players.” The apostle Paul wrote to the young preacher Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). To accurately handle the word of truth, we must be familiar will all of God’s word (Psalm 119:160). We cannot be like the Christians described by the Hebrew’s writer in their development, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food” (Hebrews 5:12). Some fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are going to be better at certain aspects of the church than others (teaching, singing, evangelism, etc.). Some will have a better grasp on the tougher New Testament books such as Revelation or Romans. But this should not discourage us from being familiar with all the characteristics of the Lord’s church. We might not be “star players” but God should be able to “feel comfortable” with our efforts as a whole. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Be God’s utility player!