Made to Do Great ThingsApril 28, 2014 - 5:00 am
“They must be holy to their God and must not profane the name of their God. Because they present the food offerings to the LORD, the food of their God, they are to be holy.” — Leviticus 21:6
The Torah portion for this week is Emor, which means “speak,” from Leviticus 21:1–24:23, and the Haftorah is from Ezekiel 44:15–31.
Lou Holtz, the famous former football coach, once said the following in order to rally his team: “On this team, we’re all united in a common goal: to keep my job.”
That’s one way to motivate your players, right? However, as funny as it sounds, there is much truth to Lou’s comment. How a team plays reflects greatly on its coach. It’s true in the game of football; it’s true in the game of life.
In this week’s Torah portion, God, through Moses, commanded the priests: “They must be holy to their God and must not profane the name of their God.” The Sages explain that these are not two separate injunctions, but rather one cohesive message. The priests must be holy, and if they are not, then they have desecrated God’s name.
But doesn’t that seem unfair? Surely there is a huge gap between not achieving holiness and desecrating God’s name!
Consider the following analogy. When a coach makes a plan for a game, he chooses only the best players and places them in the roles that suit them best. When game time arrives, if the players live up to their potential, the entire team benefits and the coach is commended. However, if one player doesn’t play up to par, the whole team suffers and the reputation of the coach is tarnished.
In life, God is the head coach, and He chooses only the best players to come into the world. He places each of us in the positions that suit us best. If we fail to reach our potential – if we fail to live a life of holiness in which we dedicate our lives to God’s purposes – then it affects the entire team of humanity and reflects poorly on God. Being mediocre is not an option for God’s players. We need to be our best or we desecrate His holy name.
Many people think that they aren’t capable of achieving anything significant. But that just isn’t true. If we had nothing to contribute to humanity, then we would not be here. We need to remember the words of Psalm 139:14: “ . . . I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” God created us to do great things and it is our duty to live up to His intentions for us.
According to Jewish tradition, no two people are exactly alike and each person has a unique mission. Our job is to work hard at developing our talents and abilities and to use them for God’s purposes. As we do so, we will bring victory and blessings to all people and glory to the name of God.