The decal on the side of the truck read, “Specializing in all types of exterior siding.”  I scrambled for a pen so I could jot it down before the light changed.  Inspiration strikes at odd times, and we must be ready.

Pick a lane, says I to the small business owner.  Either is fine.  Be a specialist.  Be a generalist.  But don’t tell people you are both.  It looks amateurish at best, deceptive at worst.  Neither will entice me to call your number (which, no coincidence, I did not jot down).

This is not what Paul meant by being “all things to all men” (1 Corinthians 9:22).  He meant that he adjusted his approach to his audience based on their background, knowledge and experience.  That’s just reasonable.  Don’t use subway analogies in cattle country, and vice versa.

There is a time and place for being a specialist.  One scholar I heard of was determined to be the world’s ranking expert on the book of Ephesians.  More power to him.  We need specialists.  Just don’t become so focused on one aspect of your spiritual diet that you ignore other essentials entirely.

There is a time and place for being a generalist.  Reading the entire Bible this year is our attempt to stress the entirety of God’s message for mankind.  All was given, therefore all is important.  Just don’t be satisfied with just touching all the bases.  We must grow in the gospel (2 Peter 3:18).

Just don’t claim to be “specializing” in “all types” of anything.  You don’t have enough hours in the week to do that.  Claiming otherwise makes you look (depending on my attitude in the moment) either arrogant, desperate, or ignorant. 

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