There’s a yard next to my son’s school where broken playground equipment is placed. At first I only noticed the playhouses and wooden items. But then I looked across the yard, off to one side, and laying by the fence was a slide. The slide appeared to be fine. It looked as if it was removed from another structure and set aside for future use.
It shouldn’t bother me that this perfectly good slide is not being used. I should be able to drop my son off and move along, but this week, I realized why this lonely slide was so important. It represents a person.
See, there are so many people who have perfectly good talents, abilities and gifts, and yet they have stopped using them. For whatever reason, they have left themselves out in the yard where the broken things go. Every day, as the world walks by, they choose to keep themselves hidden away out back.
Maybe they were offended or mistreated. Maybe they were told that they had nothing to offer. Maybe they got tired or overloaded. Maybe other responsibilities got in the way. Or maybe they convinced themselves that they were no good and stopped offering themselves to the world.
Can you imagine with me what joy that slide used to bring when it was attached to the playground? Can’t you just see the faces of the smiling children as the slide fulfilled its designed purpose?
So imagine with me for a minute what these folks used to be like. Can you imagine what it was like when they were serving in their giftings? Oh what joy they shared with those around them when they were attached to the rest of the people in this world. Can’t you see the smiles as they fulfill their deigned purpose?
Just because you are in the broken section of the yard doesn’t mean that you are no longer useful. Those old gifts, talents and abilities might be a little rusty, but there’s someone somewhere who could benefit from their use. Even if you are more limited now than you used to be, there’s always something you can offer. Volunteer. Pick up that instrument. Build that ramp. Cook that meal. Write that card. Save that life. Whatever you choose to do, move away from that back fence where all of the broken things are. Connect yourself with a group of people on purpose. Offer your gifts and talents. And don’t be a lonely slide anymore.