While working on a project in my small shop at Refuge Ranch in Mexico, I often have a wannabe carpenter come alongside me, our 7 year old grandson Nicolas. He asks me for scraps of wood, hammer, and nails and then goes to work, pounding away. We have to share a hammer, so he often gets interrupted with his hammering when I need to hammer.
One time while I pounded away with my one and only hammer I glanced at Nicolas, who had become impatient at getting the hammer back and was attempting to pound in a nail using my tin snips. It wasn’t working well for him, and I was concerned he’d do damage to my tin snips. He has yet to develop the conviction that every tool has its purpose, and to try to use a tool for other than its intended purpose usually doesn’t end well.
It’s not a stretch to see the human enterprise as being a project of God’s in which He’s building His kingdom in His cosmic workshop with us as His tools. Like the tools in my humble workshop (and any workshop) we, as God’s tools, are each unique. Our problem is that we can easily become discontented with the way we are and envy others, and sometimes insist on trying to be the kind of tool God never intended us to be.
We have to come to the conviction that we are the right tool for God to use in the way He’s always had in mind to use us. It’s a struggle I’ve experienced in various areas, including the area of being a writer. I’ve been inspired by such word crafters as Max Lucado, A. W. Tozer, John Ortberg, Lloyd Ogilvie, Anne Lamott, and even the secular humorist Dave Barry. In fact, on more than one occasion I’ve said to my wife, “This article is a ‘Dave Barry’ type article.”
But, the fact is, I can never write exactly like Dave Barry or any of the other above mentioned writers. I remind myself regularly that I have to be the writer Dave Claassen. In fact, I don’t mind stating that I’m the best Dave Claassen writer there is! No brag, just fact. The same goes for you too. The truth is, you are the best at being you! No brag, just fact.
We can’t be like anyone else; God never intended us to be. Each of us is uniquely crafted to be used of God as His tool to carry out a specific part of building His Kingdom of God. This means there’s no reason for us to envy someone else, or to be prideful over someone else either, for that matter.
The analogy of the tools has its limitations. After all, tools have no say about being grasped and used by the craftsman, they’re inanimate objects. We have been animated by God and given unique potential to be used by Him. We’re to be His tool, and as His tool we just have to let Him get a good grip on us!
“[They] will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21b