I’ve heard (or read) Mark Driscoll at various points talk about “figuring out the size of your plate and then filling it.” That’s the framework for this post — plate size.
If you look at great men, and what they accomplish, you will see that they were able to produce at an almost superhuman rate. For instance, C.H. Spurgeon would often work 18 hours a day. John Owen generally slept only four hours a night. Consider John Calvin’s work put out over 30 years: a 1200 page (multiple times re-edited) opus of Protestant theology; 22 volumes (for the modern editions) of commentaries on the majority of the books of the Bible; preaching many times a week; tracts and treatises; and a massive body of letters.
God gives some men inordinately greater ability than others. He gave these men massive plates, so that they might accomplish what they did, to build the church, and to give Him glory. Certainly God did not need such men, but I believe that men like these were truly gifts from Christ to his church.
Like most aspiring _______ (insert whatever, in my case, “pastor”, “writer”, “theologian”), I would like to think that I am gifted — that I have “a big plate.”
For example, when I read about great men not sleeping a lot, I think, “I could do that. All I have to do is work hard late into the night.” It’s easy, in theory, until I don’t get enough sleep. Consider this: I will get up at about 4:35 a.m. (getting about 6 1/2 hours of sleep), and go to work. After working five or six hours, I’ll go to class. When I get home, I am shot. I can’t focus and I can’t work. I become, generally, worthless.
Now, I need to look realistically about my plate size, and not wish or pretend that God gave me a bigger plate than he did. I also can’t waste the plate that God has given me — I must use my time wisely, and work hard and diligently. Often, the amount that I can get done if I don’t waste time amazes me. And often, time doesn’t offer enough of itself, and I can’t get done all that I want to do.
I’m not sure how big my plate is. I trust that God will give me grace sufficient for what he calls me to do; but he won’t give it until I need it. I do know that I often waste my plate space, and my plate size won’t be clear until I steward my time wisely.
I must faithfully do what God has called me to do at this point. My priorities must be:
1. Maintaining an intimate and transformative relationship with my King.
2. Shepherding and faithfully serving Laura.
3. Faithfully leading our community group — especially by praying for these, my friends.
4. Pursuing my studies with excellence, and making the most of the opportunity to be prepared for the ministry.
5. Working (at Starbucks) — being a light to my co-workers and working as unto the Lord.
6. Writing, in all forms. (This blog is a means to that end).
Whatever the size of my plate, God has made it big enough to do the things he has called me to do, the things I’ve just listed. This, right now, is my calling. May the King receive the glory for the work of this steward, and may I be faithful in it.