Tag Archives: tools

I need a machete

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How is it that I live in a tropical country where the number one gardening tool is a large knife called a machete… and I don’t have one.  It’s like an American not owning a lawn mower (which I don’t have either.)  I am sitting on my patio, looking at the palm tree growing in the empty lot behind my house.  It’s branches are hanging over my back wall which is rimmed with razor wire to prevent thieves from climbing over the wall.  The razor wire cuts up the palm leaves as the wind blows them back and forth.  The lower few palm branches are dead and ugly.  I would lop them off if I had a machete.

I will have to wait for the gardener to come.  Our landlord sends over a gardener.  Since it’s the dry season, we don’t see him too often because plant growth slows during this season.  The gardener is a frail little old man.  His tools include a gas-powered weed whacker and a rusty machete.  He squats down at the edge of the garden and hacks away at the weeds and leggy branches of the plants.  Then he weed-whacks then entire yard within a millimeter of the dirt.  It’s a miracle that any of the grass survives.  We have large bald spots in the center of the yard and it’s not from the random soccer game that the yard hosts once in a while.  He’s a quiet little guy, but he’s vicious with the greenery.

macheteIf I had a machete, I wouldn’t have to wait for the gardener to come and hack up my plants.  I could do the hacking selectively and precisely.  No massive slash and burn tactics would mar my garden.  Yep, I need a machete.  Plus I could always open a coconut any time I wanted to… not that I have a coconut palm handy or anything like that.  But one always wants to be prepared.

However, I AM the SUPER klutzy.  If anyone was going to cut a finger, or toe or limb with a machete, it would be me.  I am not nearly as concerned about my children getting hurt as I am about the possibility of hurting myself!  Though I am nearly 4x as old as my children, and according to basic probability calculations I should have 4x the experience as them- I am certain I have incurred WAAAAAY more injuries than they will every experience just because I am an accident waiting to happen.

So maybe I should be talking myself out of buying a machete.  Maybe I should just let the old gardener do the chopping and lopping.  Even though a machete is awefully handy down here, maybe I should stick to spades and garden clippers instead.  I don’t know if I will every really trust my skills in handling a giant blade used for all manner of whacking and chopping.  Yes, I think it’s best that I DON’T own a machete.

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/missmeng/5482657999/”>missmeng</a&gt; / <a href=”http://foter.com/Food/”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-ND</a>

Waiting for a Blaze of Usefulness

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“A missionary plods through the first year or two, thinking that things will be different when he speaks the language.  He is baffled to find, frequently, that they are not.  He is stripped of all that may be called “romance.”  Life has fallen more or less into a pattern.  Day follows day in unbroken succession.  There are no crisis, no mass conversions, sometimes not even one or two to whom he can point and say: ‘There is a transformed life.  If I had not come, he would never have known Christ.”

These are the words of Roger Youderian as he struggled with his role as a missionary just a few short weeks before he committed to Operation Auca and lost his life at the end of a spear with Jim Elliot, Nate Saint and the other men.

We are tools.  Missionaries are just tools in the hands of the Master.  A lot of what we give our daily lives to is nothing more than positioning.  We are just waiting in a position to be used.  It’s our job just to be available for the Master whenever and wherever he needs us.  He should be able to set his hand right down and find us ready and waiting to be used.  And that readiness is unromantic, un-dramatic, daily and boring.

But when the Master reaches for his tool and finds it exactly where he placed it, ready to be used… BAM!!… Look at the dramatic impact the tool can make in one moment.  One hit of the hammer, one strike of the match.  One moment of usefulness leads to generations of brilliance!  This man and his companion missionaries went to their deaths in a blaze of usefulness!  They were matches lying in the box, waiting for the one strike that would set them aflame.  Who had ever heard of them before they died?  No one, but hundreds, maybe thousands of young people heard of their deaths and felt called by God to go into full time service.  Workers sent out, tools now positioned and available to be used whenever the Master has need.

If you have children you very likely know the quote from the movie Toy Story were Woody tells the other toys, “Com’on Guys, it doesn’t matter how much we’re played with.  All the matters is that we’re there for Andy when he needs us.  That’s what we’re here for.”  That’s what our true mission is:  to be available for God when he needs us.  Which might mean a lot of waiting in the bottom of the toy box or the matchbox or the toolbox.  Waiting for when the Master has need of us.