Monday, April 25, 2005

The Handyman's Secret Weapon

Hundreds of years ago, St. Francis of Assisi wrote a prayer beginning with, "Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace." Most Christians long to be used by God as His instrument to do His Will. Usually our longing is to have some special use -- often flashy. We remember that the Lord told a Christian man named Ananias that Saul/Paul "is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel." Pretty cool, huh? Wouldn't it be great to be "a chosen instrument"? After all, isn't an instrument a high class tool?

When I hear the word "instrument", my mind is drawn to something expensive, something designed to do a particular duty and do it well. I usually carry a ball point pen around with me. A Bic Stic is good enough for me. But I do have a Cross pen and pencil set. Those are not sold in packs of a dozen for three bucks at Wal-Mart. A Cross pen is sold as a "precision writing instrument." Using a phrase like that makes we want to be very careful when I pick up such an item. It must be delicate and meticulously made. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but calling it an "instrument" instead of simply a "pen" makes it seem like it.

That word also brings to mind a musical instrument -- something designed especially to produce a certain kind of musical sound. Whether a saxophone or a piccolo, each is made to produce precisely the right notes in the proper octave range. Sometimes a serious singer will refer to his voice as his "instrument" although I've got to admit, that sounds way too pompous to be believed. If I ever hear an American Idol contestant call her voice "her instrument", I may have to spend an evening lying in front of the commode, awaiting the return of my previous meal!

A doctor has instruments as well. Scalpels, clamps, scissors are all made to do a specific job to perfection in the hands of a well-trained surgeon. Dentists have instruments too, made to do something to cause immense pain inside your mouth. (At least that's been my experience with dentists!)

Now as Christians, the thought of being used as an instrument of God seems mighty rewarding.
"God needs a man to preach the word? Let me be His instrument!"
"The Lord wants to use someone to be a spokesperson to the media? I'll be His instrument!"

It seems almost glamorous. Respect and adoration will be yours if you just allow yourself to be His instrument. But is an instrument really a high class tool? I suppose any tool could be an "instrument" in the hands of the Master. And with that in mind, I've decided what kind of instrument I'd like to be.

I want to be duct tape.
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That's right. I want to be duct tape in the hands of God. Why? Well being a trumpet is all well and good, but trumpets are good for only one thing -- making trumpet noises. Scalpels are great, but all they do is cut. Each are quite nobel in their own right. But I'm wanting to be a bit more flexible. I want to have more than one use. And you know that if most men can find over 100 uses for duct tape, God can certainly find more uses and make the tape work better as well.

There are all kinds of things you can do with duct tape. Belts, wallets, even fitted hats are all available if you know where to look. If you've watched The Red Green Show, you know that Red calls duct tape, the Handyman's Secret Weapon. He's right. Personally, I've used duct tape to keep an electrical cord in place, to seal up an old box of junk, to patch a car seat, to hold a pair of pants together, to attach a mailbox to a post, and, oh yeah, to tape up some duct work. What other "instrument" can give you that kind of range of use?

So I want to be duct tape. I want God to be able to use me to do anything. I want to be used to attach some lost soul to her Heavenly Father. I want to be used to hold somebody up through tough times. I want to be used to make what is needed, when it is needed. I don't care if I'm not all shined up like a brass tuba. I don't mind if I'm not flashy like a precision writing instrument. It doesn't bother me if my edges are ragged or if I have a couple of wrinkles here and there. I want to be used wherever I can be used and in any way imaginable. The Lord can make me into a hat or a wallet or whatever He wants. Just so that He uses me as He sees fit, for God can take the ordinary and do extraordinary things to bring glory and honor to His name.

What about you? Are you longing to be shown off or set aside only for a very exclusive use? Or would you like to join me on the workbench, dull grey and ready to be used as the Handyman's secret weapon?

Lord make me an instument of your choosing. I long to be useful to you.

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