(Originally posted August 2006)
Have you ever heard of Charlie Steinmetz? Legend has it that he was a prominent electrical engineer in the early twentieth century. Not long after his retirement, all of the engineers at General Electric had a problem. Although each was wise, they were unable to understand the complexity of the machinery. A call was made and Charlie Steinmetz came to the plant to offer his assistance.
Ol’ Charlie walked around the machine for a few minutes, just looking it over, not touching anything. After a few minutes, Charlie took out a piece of chalk, walked over and placed a large X on one particular part of the machine. When the other engineers disassembled the machine, they were amazed to find that it was exactly where the problem was. A few days later, the engineers received an invoice from Charlie for $10,000! This was a lot of money in those days, so they returned it to Charlie and ask that he itemize it. A few days later, they received an itemized bill which read:
Making one X mark – $1.00
Knowing where to place the X – $9999.00
Romans 12: 6-8 states that “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” (NLT)
Today, take a minute and ask yourself what the gift might be that God has given you. Once we realize this, applying it will be as easy as knowing where to put the “x”.