A Tool or a Friend?

August 2008

I like to go to home improvement stores and look at gardening tools. I love a well-shaped pair of pruning shears or sharp grass clippers. My favorite tool is the electric loppers my husband got me as a gift. That baby makes short work of pruning trees!

Not long ago I had to repair some of our lawn sprinklers but couldn’t loosen one of the pipes. So I went rummaging in the garage and found the most amazing tool. It’s called Robo-Grip and it worked like a charm. I even love the name. Doing repairs is so much easier with the right tools. They make any job more enjoyable.

Some liken Christians to tools God can use. As I used my Robo-Grip, I thought about that concept. Am I a tool in God’s hands? Does he think of me as I think of my pruners, loppers or Robo-Grip?

What about an instrument? Am I an instrument in God’s hands? I tried playing a clarinet when I was younger and regret not keeping it up. I remember how good it felt to make the clarinet produce the right notes to make a melody. It inspired me and made me feel creative.

I doubt God looks at me in this way. In fact, I’m sure he doesn’t. We use a tool to do a job and we use an instrument to make music. I am more than that to God. We have a relationship. He calls me his friend. Through his Son, he invites all of us to participate in the life he lives as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We get to share what he has.

Baxter Kruger likens what goes on in the realm of the Trinity to a great dance. His book by that title is an interesting read and even a must read if you want to open your mind to new possibilities about how God is a triune being.

But can a tool dance? Can an instrument get up and twirl around a room? Only a human being can participate in this dance of life. God said in Deuteronomy to choose life. Choose to dance, rather than sit on the sidelines as a wallflower. Choose to dance, rather than think of yourself as merely a tool or an instrument. Kick up your heels and fly across the floor to the incredible music of God’s world.

Thinking of ourselves as tools seems to me a limiting mindset. God gives us the freedom to choose, to think and to be creative in how we relate to him and to others. A tool has no freedom and does only what the user wants. Rather we can think of ourselves as participants and partners with God, working together in collaboration and cooperation.

I love my tools, but only as they are useful to me. If they break, I throw them out. Thank God he loves us all the time, even when we break, which we often do. We don’t become useless to him though. He heals us and helps us keep going, because that’s what friends do.

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