Know What You’re CUT Out For? (Angel in the Kitchen)

“We’re all pretty sharp at something.” But this guy isn’t exactly cut out for working in a deli.

“A place for everything, and everything in its place.” That’s the key to being organized, but it’s also the key to unity and harmony within any type of community or family. Everyone one of us has a special place in this world, a special calling, talent, role to play. We previously stated that people are like knives in a knife block. We’re all pretty sharp at something, but we were each uniquely designed to perform one or two special functions extremely well; and we all need to work at fitting in: we need to find our slot.

For steak? You’re kidding me!

Imagine trying to cut your steak with a cheese knife. Good luck with that. Or imagine peeling a potato with a butcher knife. Goodbye fingers. We all know we need to select the right tool for the right job, right? But have any of you ever tried to use a butter knife to pry the lid from a paint can, or to tighten the screws on something? Wouldn’t it be easier (and safer) to grab the right tool? Sometimes, we know exactly which knife we need for a job, go to reach for it, and … it’s not where it’s supposed to be. So we either stop cooking long enough to locate it, or improvise and use a different knife. (Sometimes, after improvising, we also need to find a bandaid.) That’s why a kitchen runs so much more smoothly when we understand the purpose of each specialized piece of cutlery, and we keep each piece properly positioned in the right slot of the knife block.

Apply this to work, church, family, or any organization. Organizations need to be … ahem, organized. Especially families. Within a group, the members need to know who’s good at what, and then assign each task to the person best capable of doing it. And that person should be available when needed. Families run smoother when there’s a fair and logical division of labor: everyone has a job, everyone knows whose job is what, and everyone is playing his or her part. Dads have a slot that moms will find hard to fill, or vice versa. In church, teachers shouldn’t be playing the organ, greeters shouldn’t be handling the finances, and pastors don’t have time to type up the bulletin.

Folks, specializing is not a dirty word. It allows the most efficient use of time and talent, keeps things orderly and running smoothly, and enables everyone to play a part and discover their gifting. Would you want a podiatrist examining your eyes? Of course not. So, find the slot where you best fit, and be there when you’re needed. Maintain your “family” group the way you would your knife block: a place (role/task/function) for everyone, and everyone in his or her proper slot.

One last thought: “…God is not the author of confusion, but of peace….” (1 Corinthians 14:33 KJB) So then: “…Be sure that everything is done properly and in order.” (1 Corinthians 14:40 NLT)

After all, if you haphazardly toss all your knives into a kitchen drawer, the resulting jumble of blades is not a good situation, at all. When you need a specific knife for a task, you’ll waste a good deal of time sorting through the chaos, and you may even slice a knuckle or two. Meanwhile, the knifes themselves will probably start rubbing each other the wrong way. A few will grow dull. Some may even get bent out of shape. Just saying.


Leigh Who?!? (Encouragement for Creators)


This is the story of a tough cookie named Leigh. No, not Leigh Halfpenny, the rough and tumble rugby player from Wales; Leigh Brackett, one of the best American writers you’ve probably never heard of!

Tough-guy actor Humphrey Bogart.

In a career spanning four decades, Brackett banged out over sixty short stories, more than a dozen novels — mostly science fiction and fantasy — as well as scripted several movies now considered to be Hollywood classics. Brackett had a knack for injecting mystery and noir elements into SF, and the writer also penned a few excellent crime novels. The film director Howard Hawks was so impressed with the first of these crime novels, No Good from a Corpse, that he told his secretary to call in “this guy Brackett” to help script the 1946 Humphrey Bogart movie The Big Sleep. That marked the beginning of Brackett’s long association with Hollywood.

The novelist went on to write television scripts for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and several more screenplays for Hawks, including four classic John Wayne movies: Rio Bravo (1959), Hatari! (1962), El Dorado (1966) and Rio Lobo (1970). Brackett excelled at writing tough guy cowpokes, big game hunters, and world-weary gumshoes; so when George Lucas decided his second Star Wars movie should focus more on rapscallion space-pirate Han Solo, he asked SF novelist Brackett to write the screenplay.

Sounds like Brackett could do no wrong, right? Well, not in the eyes of Bogart — at least, not initially. Bogie definitely had to go through a period of adjustment once Brackett started co-writing with the great American novelist William Faulkner on Howard Hawks’ detective movie The Big Sleep. The actor had played both hard-nosed gumshoes and ruthless gansters, and he knew exactly how his character’s dialogue should sound. But suddenly he was getting pages of a shooting script  with lines that made his character, tough P.I. Phillip Marlowe, sound more like a prim school marm. He wasted no time confronting Brackett, the novice screenwriter, with his concerns.

But Bogie had to back up. The rotten lines he’d been given to read were not the work of Brackett; they’d been penned by Faulkner! Why did Bogie immediately assume Brackett was to blame? The answer had absolutely nothing to do with Brackett’s inexperience as a screenwriter. No, Bogie figured all the mamby pamby lines just had to have come from Brackett’s typewriter, because — oh, the indignity — Leigh Brackett was, to borrow a word from Philip Marlowe, a dame!

This “dame” understood dialogue!

What? You thought Leigh was a guy? Because he — er, SHE — wrote scripts and novels about tough guys? Hey, we never said Leigh was a guy. But yeah, there are both men and women with the name Leigh, so we’ll let you slide. Bogie, on the other hand, was guilty of a little literary male chauvinism! Turns out all the good lines he’d been getting, the snappy smart-guy patter that nailed Bogie’s character, were the work of a 21 year-old female. To the actor’s credit Bogart acknowledged his silly stereotyping, and then demanded that Brackett write ALL of his dialogue!

Regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, or experience, if you’re a savvy creator, you can create whatever the job requires. So go for it! “My heart is stirred by a noble theme … my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.” (Psalm 45:1 NIV)