Life lines “Confessions of a not-so-handy man”

By Ian Robinson, Major

I am a great admirer of do-it-yourself experts. I love watching them fix or install things with ease and confidence. For many years, my home corps has sent a work team to Alaska, and I am impressed by the accomplishments. They add a room here, extend a kitchen there, fix up the quarters or the Army hall, put up a new roof or floor, install appliances and generally spruce things up significantly. And somehow they still have time to go fishing! We often enjoy the fruit—or rather the salmon—of their labor when they get back.

When we moved into our quarters about two years ago, we bought a new shower rail. Yet as a consummate procrastinator, I am only now getting around to installing it.

On Saturday morning I finally decided to take the shower rail out of its box and attach it to the wall. Armed with my new tool box and cordless drill I set about the task, bringing everything I thought I needed up two flights of stairs from the garage to the upstairs bathroom. I researched how to drill into tile until my wife mentioned the tiles were plastic. Fifteen minutes of hard drilling later I realized they were not plastic but ceramic, and I did not have a suitable drill bit. I then decided to drill above the tile but hit something hard and impenetrable. Start again.

And so it went on for almost three hours and several trips downstairs for additional tools until the rail was finally installed. The decorative cover on one side still hangs loose, a constant reminder of my inadequacy. As I flopped into the chair my wife said, “I guess you won’t be installing a fan in the living room then?” No, I won’t.

What lessons did I learn from this endeavor? One, read the instructions and have all the necessary tools on hand before you begin. Two, wait until your wife is out of the house before you attempt do-it-yourself projects that are beyond your ability. And three, I will never be invited to join the Alaska work team.

The Bible says that each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that (1 Cor. 7:7 NIV). If we try to do things outside of our giftedness we will probably fail. If you do not have the gift of preaching, your sermons will not make sense. If you do not have the gift of teaching, your classes will be pretty boring. If you do not have the gift of hospitality, you will not invite strangers in for dinner. If you do not have a missionary gift, you will not volunteer for service in Rwanda or Djibouti.

I do not have the gift of craftsmanship; that much is clear. My gifts do include preaching, teaching and missions and so I enjoy crafting sermons or seminars that will engage people with God’s Word, and I relish traveling to distant parts of remote countries to share the gospel.

What’s your gift? Are you using it for God’s glory and kingdom? Or are you still trying too hard and spending too many hours doing something for which you are not gifted? The Apostle Paul told Timothy to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you (2 Tim. 1:6). Simply put, we must identify our gifts then use them wholeheartedly for God’s glory and honor.

Father, fan the flame in me.


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