“Whate’er thou art, act well thy part.” – William Shakespeare.
Growing up I loved drama. I loved acting in school plays. My first role ever was a Red Skelton sketch when I was in third grade. I did plays and musicals all through my youth, eventually even adding set design and make-up to my skill set (I once made a 16 year old kid look like a pretty convincing Boris Karloff). I liked acting because I could choose who I wanted to be and how I played each role. Every character was a new insight into the human condition.
There were some roles that I was not suited for. Obviously I could never get away with playing “Miss Scarlett”. I never had a lead role. There were even some productions where I was just part of the crowd, with no lines. I had an opening fight scene once where my opponent accidentally forgot to pull his punch and broke my nose, but that’s for another article.
One time I was an understudy. I thought I could have done a better job than the other actor did. I talked it over with the director. He didn’t agree. He was convinced that the one he had chosen would do the best job. He encouraged me to study the part, but also to learn my role well. The final night of performance the actor I was understudying called in sick. My part was played by someone else and I took on the lead. I’d like to say that I was indeed better, but I can’t. I survived. I made it through, but it wasn’t near perfect.
Our Director has a good handle on our talents. God puts us in roles where he knows we can thrive, roles that fit our talents well. But we’re also expected to learn and prepare to occasionally cover other roles as well. Some of us are more versatile in the roles we can play; some of us find ourselves playing the same part over and over again. But what matters is not the role but the way we play it. What matters is whether we give our whole selves to the role. What matters is how we take direction.
We all have a part to play. Some of us are leaders, some of us are supporters. Some of us are in the background crowd. Some of us are stage hands. But we do what we do because we’re good at it. We’re talented. We’re gifted. All of us. And just because we’re not the lead doesn’t mean we don’t matter. Just because we’re always in the crowd doesn’t mean we don’t matter. It doesn’t mean we can just sit out. “The show must go on”. It’s not quite as good if any one of us is missing. “Whate’er thou art, act well thy part.”
Grace and peace.