Monday, June 26, 2017


June 26, 2017

If it were up to me, we would still be digging roots with sticks. I haven´t got an ounce of engineer in me. Give me time in the Scripture, and I can produce a reasonably coherent sermon; I know how to listen to people, how to stay married for 47 years, how to raise kids to be responsible and faithful adults. But I couldn’t design a tool and figure out how to actually make it if my life depended on it. 

Using tools is another matter. Tonight I am grateful for intelligent and diligent people who have the ability to imagine a piece of machinery and figure out how to actually make it. And I am grateful for those tool and die makers and machinists who actually make stuff. I am thankful for those who mine iron ore, those who smelt it, and those who make castings from which parts are machined. I am thankful for those who put those parts together to make tools that make possible the projects on which I am working. 

Today I helped son Matthew install a floor in what used to be a garage, but is now a family room. Saturday we prepped the floor, scraping the old carpet that had been glued to the concrete. We used a spud, a simple, but very effective tool. Today, it was hammers, pry bars,  vacuum cleaner, a chop saw, jig saw, and band saw. We laid down manufactured flooring that someone somewhere milled to exact specifications. Tools made it all possible.

This evening, I moved the last of the bricks for our patio. If I had to do it by hand, they would still be in their original piles, but they are now all within reach as I work to finish the job. Thank you, John Deere, and all those who work for you! And thank you, whoever you are, who came up with the idea of hydraulics. They work perfectly, raising and lowering the loader on the tractor, enabling me to load and dump those bricks with ease. These tools made it possible for me to do jobs that just wouldn’t get done without them. I am thankful for them, and those who make them.

The right tool for the job spells the difference between frustration and success. That goes for life, too. Words are tools, meant to bless and encourage, to teach and nurture. Without them, not much would get accomplished. Too often however, they are misused, demeaning people, tearing them down instead of building them up. I am grateful for word-tools that have encouraged and corrected me in my times of need, and for the opportunities God gives me to use them to build up others. 

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