Where Do I Fit?
My Dad was a great fellow. He was rather introverted, even bordered on being timid. But there was a kind of inner stability about him that made you know that his timidity was not a sign of anything–except the wisdom it takes to be quiet and listen. He had a philosophical bent about him and when he did say something, you could usually put it in your pocket and use it later because it was something that made good sense.
We moved to the Plains of West Texas when I was 5 years old. My dad kept books at the cotton Gin for Hume Russell. Later, when we had saved up a little money, he bought a dry cleaning shop in Morton. In addition to cleaning clothes, Dad ordered tailor-made suits for the National Tailoring Company in Chicago. We still have a nice quilt Mom made out of the wool suit samples he would show to prospective buyers. He was an expert at measuring a person for clothes and “that’s the key to having satisfied customers,” he would say. We didn’t always have much– didn’t even have a car until I was 12 or 13–but we had nice clothes, so everybody thought we were better off than we were.
One thing my Dad said about clothes has stayed with me all these years. “Things wear out where they don’t fit,” he said. In other words, if you buy things that fit you, you can wear them much longer. Things wear out where they don’t fit.
That’s true of humans, too, you know. Folks soon wear out where they don’t fit.
If you’re in a crowd where you don’t fit, chances are you won’t stay long–mainly because you don’t think you look good there. When you feel welcome–that is, when you fit–you’ll more likely stay longer and be more of a part of the overall picture.
Where do you fit here? Let’s look at some things that are necessary for a good fit.
A good fit begins with a good measurement. You have to measure yourself. Introspection may be the hardest kind of inspection. First of all, it requires complete honesty. You have to take a long look at your assets and liabilities and see how you can best use what you have and try and do better at what you lack. That’s not easy, but just remember, not everybody fits into every slot, and you’re apt to wear out if you force yourself into some area where you don’t fit. Paul said, (Gal. 6:4), “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone and not in another.” Self-examination always begins with a good heart (Psalm 15:1-2).
You have to want to. You won’t fit if you don’t want to. Many times people who complain about not being a part, don’t fit in because deep down, they don’t really want to. If you want to, you can fit. How sad to see some folks who complain bitterly–and talk loudly–because they don’t have a place when they never tried to fit in. The one talent man (Matt. 25:25) didn’t fit into his master’s plan not because he couldn’t, but because he decided not to.
You have to stay in your own place. Not everybody fits everywhere and not everybody can do everything. Sometimes you have to just be satisfied with where you fit and try to fit nicely into your own spot. Actually, if you try and force yourself into a place where you don’t fit, you mess up the whole picture and someone who actually fits where you’re trying to is left to fit where he doesn’t fit either. And that makes for trouble. The various parts of the body function together to make the whole body strong, but the liver doesn’t try to be what’s it not and the feet don’t try and take the place of the ears (see I Cor. 12:14-f).
Everybody fits. There are no unimportant parts in this picture. Every single part–no matter how small or seemingly insignificant it may seem–has a place. When a part is missing, it messes up the entire picture and, rather than blending in to the whole, the void causes people to see only the missing part, thus distracting terribly from the big picture. And how wonderful just to know that you have a place, and one that no one else is fitted for. When Paul says we are “knitted together,” he says the knitting is supplied by every joint contributing its part by “the effective working by which every part does its share” (Eph. 4:17). Only when every part does its part can the whole body be effective.
So, let’s get together. Let’s gather together all the parts of this church and fit them into the over-all scheme of things and get to the business of being lights in the world–a picture that will reflect to the world around us that we’re serious about the business of going to heaven and that we’re interested in taking as many people with us we can.