So, I’m in the middle of making a special table for Jodel to place her Dicken’s Village Collectables on during the Christmas season. It has a unique style to it so that the cords of all the little houses won’t be seen or get in the way. To build the table in this way I needed to buy a new power tool.... (Darn! Well, if I have to....since it’s for Jodel and all) But I needed to practice with it on spare pieces of wood from the scrap bin from other projects before I could trust myself and it on the expensive wood for the table. (Wow, does wood cost so much these days!) Sorry, that’s an issue for another Pastor’s Corner. I remember making a candle sconce for my mother and a wall clock for dad in Shop Class in the 8th grade. Thank goodness for Mr. McMillen, the shop teacher, and his patience with me.
Our journey of faith in growing as disciples is a process of learning and discovery. As we begin following Jesus, it is a new way of living, one I and many feel unaccustomed to in those early days. We’re learning new skills, discovering new understandings, and seeing life in new ways. It’s a bit like learning carpentry. (I understand myself more of a “wood butcher” than carpenter).
We begin with foundational tools and learn how they can “Build” a life in Christ. Just as learning how to use a new tool, the first attempts don’t always come out the way we envisioned or hoped. But that’s why we practice; learn how the tool feels in our hands, get accustomed to how it shapes and changes the wood you’re working with. As we move to other projects, other tools are needed. Not “Better” or more “sophisticated” tools; just different tools for different projects needing to be done.
As we grow and continue in our journey of discipleship, we discover other spiritual disciplines, deeper ways of following Christ, a larger array of Means of Grace. It is good to intentionally add these “tools” into our tool chest of discipleship. The more we work our “trade” of following Jesus, the more adept we will be in crafting our lives in Christ.
Sometimes I’m not as patient with myself as I should be. I have a project I want to accomplish, and I don’t allow myself the time and practice I need with the tool. The results are usually evident that I worked in haste. Then there are times when I procrastinate, and the job falls behind because I didn’t apply myself to becoming competent with the tool and the deadline is missed or the work rushed, and the project lessened because of it.
This is why a disciple applies themselves to the journey daily...as you would a relationship, for that’s what it is!
As we move toward Lent, I encourage you to daily walk with Christ in conversation and commitment: Discipleship. Learn from the Master carpenter in the use of spiritual disciplines as you grow in Christ as a follower in the ways of Jesus.
Be God’s, Pastor Jim