When I lived in Chicago and went to my favorite pizzeria, I always took note of a photo on the wall of the 1906 Chicago Cubs. Okay, I just didn't take note of it, I was fascinated by it. The photo shows that the stands were packed with tens of thousands of people and the ball players stood on the field in front of them. I wondered how many of those people lived their lives for Christ and how many of them wanted to make an eternal impact on this world. When Ray asked me to write something about using our talents for God, it seems like a perfect opportunity to share this story.
I also want to apologize here. I know the ending is a bit wordy and can even feel a bit on the sappy side (very unusual for me as you know!) but I just felt led to write it this way so feel free to edit it if you wish.
Okay, I've said it. Read on!
John Rubin: A Dad
Jimmy: John's Son
2 old toys (I used a couple I had from childhood. Change the dialogue to reflect your toys.)
Photo on screen behind you. Provided here!
(LIGHTS UP CENTER STAGE on John and Jimmy who are walking up onto the stage.)
Jimmy: Explain it to me again, Dad.
Dad: Itís impossible to explain, Jimmy.
Jimmy: But why do we have to do every chore on the list?
Dad: Because your mother gave it to me.
Jimmy: So what if we donít do them all?
Dad: Do you know where Spot sleeps?
Dad: Enough said. Now, letís get started on cleaning out this basement.
Jimmy: Wow. What a mess.
Dad: Looks kind of like your room.
Jimmy: Funny Dad.
Dad: Heh. Score one for Dad. Why donít you grab that box over there? Weíll stack them up in the corner.
Jimmy: Ok. (tries to pick it up) This is heavy. Whatís in here? (starts opening it)
Dad: Címon Jimmy. We donít have time for that. Weíve got to (looks at list) clean the gutters. Yuck.
Jimmy: What is all this junk?
Dad: What? Let me see. (looks in) Junk? Junk? This isnít junk. This is a box of some of the stuff I had as a kid. Wow.
Jimmy: Looks like junk to me. Whatís this? (pulls out a Soaky toy)
Dad: Well Iíll be. Thatís my old Soaky! I havenít seen this in like 20 years!
Jimmy: Where do the batteries go?
Dad: Batteries? You donít need no stinkiní batteries! You just, you know, play with it in the tub.
Jimmy: Whatever. Here, Iíll put it back.
Dad: No, uh, thatís okay. I want play, er, look at it later.
Jimmy: What else is in here? Whatís this? (pulls out a box)
Dad: Wow! Itís my Strange Change Machine! Oh man.
Jimmy: Whatís a Strange Change Machine?
Dad: Itís this thing that gets hot and you put these little cubes into and then they grow.
Jimmy: And then what?
Dad: Then you crush them again.
Jimmy: Whatís the point?
Dad: (raising his voice a little) Because itís fun!
Dad: (looking at it) CoooooolÖ.
Jimmy: Whatís this, Dad? (pulls out a framed B/W photo)
Dad: Wha? Um. (looks at the photo) Oh my. (puts down the Strange Change machine)
Dad: (takes it from him Ė almost reverently) I had completely forgotten about this.
Jimmy: What is it?
Dad: Itís a very old photograph of the 1929 Chicago Cubs given to me by your great grandpa Fred.
Jimmy: Why did he give it to you.
Dad: Well, itís a long story.
Jimmy: Iím not going anywhere.
Dad: (smiles) Okay. (they sit down on some boxes) When I was a kid, your grandma and grandpa used to take me to visit great grandpa Fred. He was a writer for the Chicago Tribune. A good writer. Anyway, we used to go there at least once a month and grandpa Fred used to let me play in his study while he wrote.
Jimmy: What does that have to do with this picture?
Dad: Iím getting there. Hold your horses. Now, the walls of his study were bare except for one thingÖ
Jimmy: The picture?
Dad: You got it. So, one day Ė I think I was 9 or 10, I asked him about the picture. Grandpa Fred stopped writing, turned around and slowly took the picture off the wall. He asked me who was in the picture. I said I supposed it was the Chicago Cubs. He pointed to one of the players and asked me who he was. I said it was a ball player. He then asked me what he was good at. I responded something about hitting or running or something. He then asked me his name. I told him I didnít know. Grandpa Fred then pointed to someone in the stands. I mean, it looked like a dot. He then asked me who that was. I told him it was a fan. He asked me what they were good at, what their talent was. I told him I didnít know. He said "Maybe their good at drawing, or math, or maybe they are a teacher." He then asked me their name. I told him I didnít know. He then put the picture back on the wall and said "Exactly."
Jimmy: What did he mean by that?
Dad: I didnít know until after he died and my dad gave me the picture. He told me that Grandpa Fred wanted me to have it. I told my dad the story and asked him about it. He said that Grandpa was a really good writer. One of the best at the newspaper but he lived with the fact that ultimately his writing would never count for anything significant Ė that he had a great talent but never used it for anything that mattered for eternity.
Jimmy: You mean like God?
Dad: Yep. Thatís what he was trying to tell me when he showed me the people in the photo. They all had some talent but unless they used it for God, ultimately, it wouldnít matter and no one would remember them.
Jimmy: Itís a good thing that weíre using our talent for God, right Dad?
Dad: Oh yeah, right Jimmy. (unsure Ė regret) Letís go up and get some dinner. We can finish this afterward.
(Dad and Jimmy walk off the stage with Dad looking back as they go as the LIGHTS SLOWLY FADE)Ö
(c) 2000 Dave Marsh