Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Assyrian Captivity of Ministry

Last night my shipment of new power tools and power saws arrived*. A few weeks back the Lord really convicted me about my need to be intentional about serving my wife. One of the things that I decided to do in response was get serious about learning how to be more handy around the home. Hence my purchase of power tools.

One of the things I am quickly learning is that using the proper tool for each job is essential. Some saws are better at cutting around corners. Other saws are best used for cutting angles. And others are good for just lopping off the part of the board you don’t need. At the end of the day I am the one responsible for deciding which tool is best for the job.

I thought of my new power tools when I read this verse:

    Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it,
        or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it?
    As if a rod should wield him who lifts it,
        or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!
(Isaiah 10:15 ESV)

There is one thing every one of my power tools has in common at this moment. Inactivity. An axe does nothing unless I swing it. My saw does nothing unless I wield it. It would be stupid for my powerless power tools to boast in themselves when their ability to work comes from the outside.

Not so with the Assyrians. They are but a tool in the hands of Yahweh, yet they view themselves as much more. They are confident that their quest for world domination rests squarely in their own abilities. They cannot see the hand of Yahweh. They do not know that they will only be able to go as far as the Lord permits them. Foolish Assyrians…

More like, foolish believer. Isaiah 10 was a stunning reminder to me yesterday that I am but an instrument in the hands of my redeemer. Yes, I have certain gifts that are able to accomplish certain jobs. But it is absolutely foolish for me to boast when the Lord is simply using the tool that He crafted. It is also stupid for me to be depressed or envious when he leaves me on the shelf and uses a better suited instrument. 

Brothers and sisters, we are called to leave people in awe of the Carpenter and not the saw. Part of this is realizing that not every job requires our skills. We are but one tool in the Lord’s arsenal. Our call is to be faithful whenever the Lord picks us up for use.

When I drive by a beautiful house I seldom think about the tools used to create it. The glory is reserved for the architect. It is my prayer that as our local church spreads the kingdom of Christ into our community people give glory to the Builder and not the instruments used for building.


*On an unrelated note, If you notice an upswing in typos within the next few weeks it will be me adjusting to a couple missing fingers.

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