Monday, June 15, 2009

You Tool! Whose Hand Controls You

Do you realize you are a tool? The truth is, we are all tools whether we like it or not. But the question then becomes, who controls you. You see a tool is an instrument that is of little value unless it is in the hands of a skillful master and used in the way it was intended. I knew this, and believed it, but as usual, I needed a reminder of that and this last week has provided one. Please take the time to read this as it is a sincere effort to express thanks and gratitude, but it is also a chance to share something that I think we can all learn from. I have already shed tears today from this lesson in life, I want it to help others more than you will ever know.

As many know, my wife recently had foot surgery; they had to shave bone spurs off of four of her toes, cut off a bunion, and then stretch her Achilles tendon, all on her left foot. She has not been able to put weight on the foot for 2 weeks, and will be in a cast for a minimum of 4 months, and won’t be able to put a shoe on her foot for around 6 months. Needless to say, stressful and welcome Mr. Mom!

Then there was Monday of last week. We have been leasing our house with an option to buy. This method of purchasing a house is a necessity for an underground house. Thankfully we chose this option as there were some plumbing problems that came about. We were into our 2nd year of a 3 year option and we got notice that our landlord, who has been wonderful by the way, has had to file bankruptcy. We were told that his trustee, attorney had informed him to not let us know and we would just get an eviction notice within 3 – 6 months. For a family that has made the effort to develop a co-op for chickens and a garden for people in his church, and has started planning activities where the neighbors can start to get to know each other, the thought of having to move has made us sick. We have contacted a realtor about what we need to do to buy the house but haven’t heard anything back yet. I guess that with the economy, there is still a chance we could loose the house, we just don’t know.

Then there are the activities at church, we had a band stay with us the last couple of days from Battle Creek Michigan, and will have another stay with us next week for a week. Then there are the minimum of 6 concerts I will be playing in along with my wife, son in law, our band and another band over a 7 day period. Of course the band from Ft. Collins Colorado will be staying with us for 7 days.

Now don’t get me wrong, the bands with us, the concerts they are a great thing for us to do and all of the things centered on serving and ministering to people. The truth is I love the person of the Real St. Nicholas and the concept of Santa Claus for a reason. I love to give, and I can think of few other things in life that gives me that kind of joy.

Well all of this has been going on, and it has been a roller coaster week, I even celebrated my 50th birthday last week with a large number of friends, and there has been so many ministries taking place as a result of the article in Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Magazine it has been unreal. But then on Friday, the nerves set in as we received notification that we had a certified letter to pick up at the post office. Now I don’t know about you, but I can think of very few things related to a certified letter that is good. All weekend, my wife and I stressed, even requesting prayer at church related to the only thing we could imagine, our home situation.

This morning, with my shirt put on backwards, inside and out and all, (hard to do for polo) I went to the post office early in the morning to pick up the letter. I walk in, nervous and anxious and picked up the letter from Chester’s. I had done a search over the weekend on a Chester’s in Wichita and could only come up with a steak house, I had no idea what that would have to do with anything. But sure enough, the certified letter was from a 4 star restaurant in Wichita with a top recognized chef. I opened up the letter once I got in the car and saw that a friend of my family, The Virtual Pew and our Church had given my wife and me a gift certificate for what was to us a significant amount to this fine restaurant. This was a blessing that I want to comment on to some extent if you will bear with me a little while longer.

Those who know me know that I don’t do the extravagant things any more, but this morning I kind of feel, maybe for the first time in a long time some of the thoughts that Jesus experienced when he had the expensive oil poured on his feet. People sometimes give gifts to the church I pastor or to The Virtual Pew. I am grateful for those gifts more than you know, but this morning, I experienced something personal. Something personal is something that you can’t ignore. Someone thought enough of my wife and me that they wanted to bless us with something extravagant. I realized this morning, that that personal touch is something that touches in ways we can’t even comprehend. This morning I shed tears over the gift, why? Because someone thought of me and someone thought of my wife.

Now here is the thing about all of this, for years I had issues with people with money, and the truth is I believe Jesus meant exactly what he said when he said it is as easy for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into the kingdom of Heaven. Here is what I have come to realize from study and searching though; there are those with money who don’t see their money as their money. They see the importance of using their money for the Kingdom of God. God has hit me with this hard in the last 12 hours, once from a stranger, last night at a concert, who said, here is some money for you to use as you want. We gave a band $50 of that money last night, and put the rest in the offering for the church which looses money in its concerts to bless bands and many young people. I was touched by this random act of kindness, then this morning, to have that gift given to my wife and me, I can’t tell you how much I have thought of how some wealthy people, at least by my standard, are willing to give and bless others. One of those over the last 2 days realized and desired to bless my wife and me, how can you express gratitude for things like that.

Here is what I have come to realize, we are all tools, some cheap flea market tools that are used in the wrong way, and others a quality tool like a craftsman that has a lifetime guarantee that is used in the hands of a master. That master controlling the tool can be a carpenter, a mechanic, or any number of other craftsmen, but they are none the less masters. They know how to use their gifts, whether encouragement, loving, money or whatever in a most perfect way. They are willing to listen to the call of the Holy Spirit in how they use those gifts.

Here is a question for you, what kind of tool are you? Are you letting that tool be controlled by the master craftsman, God? Or are you allowing yourself to control that gift, or maybe even an enemy greater than any enemy you know who has no desire for that tool to be used for good?

I have been blessed today, I am so grateful that I felt the love of another human being, I had to pass the phone to my wife so she could say thank you to that person as I started to cry this morning. I realize, as does this individual, that they are a tool from God and are used by God. I realized a long time ago that people that have supported this ministry and the work my wife and me do are special, each gift has been special and needed, but it is rare that we get to experience the “personal” end of things and it feels good. I am reminded today, if it feels good for my wife and me, how good will it feel for someone else who are not so used to seeing the blessings of God? I am reminded of how God uses people in the area of gifts this morning from a passage of scripture, but before I say that, I want to say thanks to those who have given to not only Mosaic, and The Virtual Pew, but also my wife and me. May we all realize that God can use us in the giving of gifts? Now that passage of Scripture that I hope inspires all of us.

Matthew 7: 11 ~ As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask.

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