Isn’t that a true statement? Tools are great, aren’t they? But the right tools are essential for getting the job done efficiently. Nearly 15 years ago, Chad and I bought a home in Temecula, California. We were house poor leaving very little money for any suggested upgrades. Consequently, we were content with the builder grade flooring that consisted of a mix match of tile, carpet and linoleum . . . at least for a while. Then the day came when it was time to take out the linoleum and install matching tile. We first had to remove a metal transition strip between the different flooring. And so with tools in hand (safety glasses, flat head screw driver and a hammer) we sat crossed legged, facing each other and began the task of chipping away at the grout and glue holding the transition strip in place. Forty-five minutes later with little progress made, Chad says to me, “Want to just hire this out?” Of course my answer was an enthusiastic “YES”! The next week a gentleman enters our home and within seconds . . . seconds mind you, the strip is removed! What? How? He had the right tool, not a flat head screwdriver but a small hand held jackhammer – I was impressed! And I’ll never forget that lesson – the right tools make all the difference!
It’s the same in our relationships. We need the right tools to help us live our lives effectively for Christ. What are some tools that will help? Well, I’m certain there are several but I will list four that help me personally; knowledge, friendship, prayer, and God’s Word. Now you can chew up the meat and spit out the bones on any number of these suggestions, however, tools are important and they can make the labor of living more productive and rewarding.
Knowledge is key and on a recent outing with our oldest, she suggested I take a personality test, the Myers Briggs personality assessment to be specific. So, as she drove, I took the test and received my results. Results that my daughter would laugh and say “these are spot on, mom!” Turns out, according to Myers & Brigg, I’m an ISFJ personality (“The Defender”). She would say . . . “mom, this is best played out at the dinner table with someone’s getting in trouble”, and I have to laugh because it is true! Conflict is the enemy in my mind and is to be avoided at all costs! Why is a personality test listed as a tool? It gives me knowledge! Knowledge about what makes me, and those around me, tick! This knowledge brings light to strengths and weaknesses, helping build into my heart compassion and appreciation for differences that are housed in our home. If you’re curious about your own personality you can find the test at https://www.16personalities.com or you can just ask your kids!!
Friendship is another tool I use to help me on this journey. Friendships push me out of my comfort zone; probably because I’m an ISFJ – HA!! But really, they do . . . they push me to stay focused. I have one such friend who on a weekly basis we seek the LORD on behalf of each other. We don’t really spend a lot of time together physically however we share each other’s burdens and praises in prayer, on which I place great value! Find that friend, dear reader! God’s Word commands it in Proverbs 27:17, as iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
Prayer is the connection to
- our Creator,
- our Savior,
- our Lifeline,
- our Hope,
- our Breath
- our Purpose
I lift my eyes unto the hills,
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
Maker of heaven and earth! From Psalm 121:1-2
I love the LORD, because He has heard
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. Psalm 116:1-2
We sing it in worship and God desires it in our communication through prayer. He desires that we cast our cares on Him because He cares for us! Just like I desire for Chad to tell me how his day went at the office so that I might carry his hurts and worries and his joys. God not only wants to carry our burdens, He wants to see us through them so a lost world will see His Grace. Prayer is pivotal and powerful, being quiet before the LORD, lifting up our praises and problems.
And finally, where would we be without God’s Holy Word? One place we will find ourselves is “without excuse”. We have the WHOLE Bible, in it’s entirety from beginning to end and we (I) will be without excuse if I chose to avoid its wisdom. On the bright side – what a fantastic tool and oh so necessary for life! Just listen to what He said today from Proverbs 18 . . . death and life are in the power of the tongue!! My words have power and that makes me pause. Am I an encourager to Chad? Do I respect the men in this family; all three, Chad, Colin and Dylan? Do my words bring life or am I full of nagging death? See the power in God’s Word to change us? Now that’s an effective tool!
Cause me to hear of Your loving-kindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift my soul to You. Psalm 143:8
As I think about working on that transition strip with a flat head screw driver, making lots of effort and having very little success; I want to be intentional with the good tools God has given. It can be the key to living the labor of life with power and purpose.