If you were in church the week before last, you would have passed the display of tools that Philip set our, prior to him taking them down south somewhere to be re-conditioned, boxed up, and sent as a gift to communities and individuals in Africa. It was quite a collection.
I have no doubt that there were some well-loved old-friends there that had been passed on. Devices with their own stories to tell. One of the first things I bought with my first teacher’s wage packet was a few tools. The Stanley Ratcheting Screw-Driver was a luxury buy. It’s still in perfect working order after three decades. A worthwhile investment it has proved to be.
However, the tools I treasure the most are not obvious ones, and I didn’t appreciate how vital they would be when I first realised I had them. They were gifts, all of them. I guess it is seeing the same gifts in others that enables you to appreciate them and use them yourself.
What am I talking about?
Well, let’s start with a naive and simple love of God, seen in Jesus, and seen powerfully in other’s lives.
An understanding that intelligence does not lead to grace, but a willingness to listen, and travel an extra mile, can bring you to that kind of shared blessing.
The tool of child-like faith, along with surrendered pride, can open up the Bible where a concordance seems to be just a blunt instrument.
You get the gist? Funny the things that turn out to have been the pearls.
But then again, the idea that the stone the builder’s rejected turned out to be the key stone for God’s building, and that God delights to choose the ‘foolish’ things to confound the ‘wise,’ not to mention talking donkeys, all fits in with the upside-down way the kingdom of God’s work. Beware the wisdom of the world!