Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Right Tools

The other day I set out to fix what I thought should be a minor problem with a push mower. How did it go? Let’s just type that by the end of the project I was pretty sure that the broken push mower was going to push me to the breaking point. Suffice it to write, I was unsuccessful at my task. A bit chagrinned by the outcome, I decided that no one would be the wiser of my less than triumphant attempt if I put the mower back together; at least it would look like it worked.

As I worked rapidly to finish the reassembly before anyone arrived to see my efforts, I realized that not only could I not repair the mower, I couldn’t even reassemble it properly. No, somewhere, in the midst of my rummaging about, I managed to lose a bolt in the grass, making it impossible to fully reassemble the broken monstrosity. Alas, it was not my finest hour.

Resolved to the fact that I had to find that bolt, I searched for what seemed like an eternity, but to no avail; the bolt was lost. As I scanned the yard around me, now fully aware that the tall grass was not the best place to work on the mower, I decided that the bolt had no doubt been carried off to the abyss by an assiduous ant or a buried in the unknown by a vexing varmint of some sort. It had simply vanished. Irritated, the frustration was mounting like the pressure just before a volcano erupts and the stress of it all refused to slide from my shoulders, in fact, it wouldn’t even slide off my well greased hands. No, at that moment in tyme, you might say that both the mower and I had a screw loose, but I digress.

Since there was nothing more I could do to find the bolt, I decided to clean up my tools, trying to make myself feel better by at least accomplishing something, albeit the smallest of tasks. As I gathered up the wrenches and screwdrivers, I couldn’t help but recall the trouble I encountered when trying to take the mower apart. I really needed a socket wrench and quickly recalled the numerous tymes I stood at Lowe’s, starting at the shiny, multi-pieced socket wrench sets, each tyme convincing myself that I would never have need of them; never say never.

So, with no socket wrench in hand, I fumbled and struggled with a variety of other tools, each one with a specific use, none of which fit my task. Using the wrong tools, it took me ten tymes longer to get the mower apart than it should have and the whole ordeal was a thousand tymes more frustrating than it should have been. As I gathered up my tools that proved less than accommodating to my mission, it occurred to me that often we use the wrong tools in the jobs of life.

We use sarcasm when we should use compassion. We use criticism when we should use encouragement. We use bitterness when we should use forgiveness and the list goes on an on. Just like at a home improvement store, we have thousands of “tools” at our disposal and while they do not carry a monetary price tag, they do carry an emotional one; and I think most would agree that emotions can be quite costly.

The price can be really steep when we say the wrong thing, react the wrong way or simply avoid something altogether. The fact of the matter is, if we take the tyme to get the right tool, we’ll avoid a lot of emotional spending. Just think of God as the Tool Store and the Bible as the store manager. God has the right tools for us and the Bible will tell us where to find them. Compassion? Aisle seven. Understanding? Aisle fifteen, second shelf on the right, next to Trust and Forgiveness.

Coincidentally, moments after my pondering on the “right tools” theory, I found the missing bolt. It was there, in the grass, the same grass that, moments earlier, I had searched over and over again. I suppose you could conclude that it was there the entire tyme and I had simply overlooked it, but I’m not certain. Part of me thinks God hid it so I would have to seek His assistance. It seems silly to enlist God’s help in finding a bolt in the grass, but the truth of the matter is, God wants us to visit his tool store no matter what the job. Whether it’s to get a complex tool for an involved project or a simple tool for, well, for finding a bolt in the grass, God wants us to come to Him.

So, the next tyme you go to work on a project be sure to use the right tool for the job. It doesn’t matter what day or tyme of day you’re working because God’s store is open 24/7 and the price for everything in it has already been paid. The tools are free for the using, just seek out the right one and you’ll be amazed how much simpler the job will be!