I grew up in a small town in the Midwest. Our house sat on a good piece of land with a large cornfield behind it and the only thing separating our grass from the corn was a dirt path where my brother and the neighborhood boys would ride their dirt bikes. I can close my eyes and put my 5-year-old self right in the picture as if it was yesterday. You see I grew up in a neighborhood full of boys. Now when I say neighborhood I know you probably think of a street with houses on both sides or a winding cul-de-sac, but our neighborhood was a string of houses along a busy highway. We enjoyed the small things in life, like taking old scraps of fabric and making army bands, or building forts in the woods, playing baseball in the front yard using the big apple trees as bases and playing “pig” with the hoop above the garage. Now you might have guessed that I was a little bit of a tomboy but I didn’t care, it’s what I loved to do. I also loved to help my dad in the garage. Now my dad loved tools and boy could he use them. To this very day there isn’t much my dad can’t fix, build, or create, he is a craftsman at heart. While he worked I would watch, probably talk his ear off until he couldn’t take it any longer and would give me a small job. One of my favorites was sweeping the garage floor. I’d put this orange stuff down to soak up the car grease and sweep and sweep and sweep. Now my dad probably thought that he was keeping me busy and keeping my mouth shut so he could get some work done, but to me it was love. Fast forward 26 years later and as I’m typing I remember from the book The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman that my love language is quality time and that time together with my dad was filling my love tank.
When I would ask him to help he would always let me at least try to and would teach me how to use the basic tools. I know now that my learning these basics was important to him. He wanted to make sure that I knew the basics and could help myself when I got older. When I went away to college I made sure I packed my tool set. It was small at the time but it had the necessities. After college the small tool set was a tool box full and I was proud of what was in that box. At the time I wasn’t quite sure how each tool worked but as years passed I would come to find out.
Today it hit me, God has been building my tool box and giving me small jobs since the day He created me. The most important tool in that box is His word. I must admit this is one of many areas that I really need to grow in. I know the more time I spend reading my bible and talking with Him, the closer I feel and the fuller my love tank becomes, however a lot of times the day-to-day hustle and bustle distracts me from taking the time.
So looking back at my childhood self sweeping the garage floor I can see God has been working on me one small job at a time. My tool box is full of the necessities love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These tools will guide me in the job He has called me to do and build a strong foundation to stand. What are the things God has put in your “toolbox”? I bet they are exactly the things you need for the job you are called to do.
Inch by inch,