Honor the task by bringing what you have to the table.
This season comes with so many rending contradictions. They include greed and generosity, faith and commercialism, cheeriness and emotional doldrums. They are all there.
In trying to think about a worthy topic to write on, I was reminded of the Christmas carol “The Little Drummer Boy” when my 7-year-old son chose it as his carol to lead at a cub scout meeting a couple weeks ago.
The scout leader chuckled and said “ok, we’ll try it” with a knowing tone of “nobody really knows that song…” And, I agree. Its odd time and slow pace make it one that usually is experienced through formal performances.
But the song carries a message that resonates beyond this season and beyond reverence for the birth of a savior. The message is in the lyrics, and I’ll just pull out the essence to make it easy.
The story is of a young person who is called to see the newborn king by other people who are bringing their finest gifts. He, a poor boy, realizes he has “no gift to bring / that’s fit to give a king.”
So, he brings a drum. And, he plays it. He says “I played my best for Him.”
And, then the King smiles.
In the churn that is the holiday season, it’s good to hear a message of effort. It’s good to hear a message of humility that depends on doing the best with what we have.
You or I might be called to do something “great.” We might be asked to do more than we think we can. And, we might realize we have no capabilities fit for the task. But in most cases we have a skill of some sort. We have something we can offer to the task. We have, at the very least, a drum to play. We can honor the task through effort and faith, rather than cower from it by giving in to our feelings of inadequacy.
This may sound like a very personal thing. It is. But it’s also a professional thing. You are probably embedded in an organization that has a few drums sitting on the shelf. There are talents that are buried out of fear or neglect. The art of enlightened leadership is to find the strengths you have, and to put them in play.
You might only have one strength. You might only have a drum…so only bang on it.
Bang the drum the best you can.