A Tool or a Weapon

A Tool or a Weapon

The knife. It is a simple form that has been around a long time.

It has many uses: opening bags of seed, cutting vegetables, extracting splinters, prying staples, cleaning teeth, sharpening pencils, cutting zip ties, removing gum from hair.

But it is also true that the blade has been used to kill many a man.

So which is it, a tool or a weapon? It depends on the handler. The hand holding the knife decides the outcome.

What is man then? A tool or a weapon? Again it depends on who is holding the man. If he is bent on ruling himself, his strength will inevitably bring harm. Just look at history. But if he is yielded to God, his strength can help fix the world.

A Bunch of Bull

A Bunch of Bull

We were at a family reunion when I discovered this relic of a carnival game. It is in the same genre as the High Striker (the one where you swing a mallet to ring a bell). You literally grab the bull by the horns and squeeze. It is an awkward movement. I’m not really sure which muscle groups I was using but my rib cage hurt for a few days after.

The thing that kept me thinking about this game wasn’t the residual pain though, it was the scoring system. It was a basic list of names ranking the strength of each player. From boy to little man to superman (and everything in between).

It reminded me that most of the names people give us (and we take on) are tied to our production. It feels good to be praised for a rare ability and I think much of what we do is subconsciously aimed at securing applause.

In the words of Terry Pierce, “Remember that there are many people who think they want to be matadors, only to find themselves in the ring with two thousand pounds of bull bearing down on them, and then discover that what they really wanted was to wear tight pants and hear the crowd roar.”

But there is an inherent danger here. If my name (i.e. my identity) is derived solely from my performance, my worth will be constantly threatened. Because what happens when I fail to produce? Unfortunately the crowd is fickle.

We all need validation. It is core. I’m simply suggesting we fill this need by turning to an unconditional, unchanging source. 

I’m working hard to make sure my kids know my opinion of them is unrelated to how far they can turn the needle. I love them inherently. And this love was secure long before they could even sit up let alone wrestle a bull.

If this is true of my fathering, how much more so with God.


We Are Small

We Are Small

Usually we act like we are big. We give the finger to people in cars. We kick over anthills. And we use keyboards like machine guns.

Also we act like we are smart. We know how to replace livers. We know how to build tiny robots. And we know how to cut apart atoms to blow stuff up.

But the truth is we are not that big and we are not that smart. We are not visible from space. And we can’t make anything out of nothing.

Despite all that, the one who is infinite and wise loves us so fully he jumped in front of a bus for us.

Which means we are important, even though we are small.

Stuff That Needs to Die

Stuff That Needs to Die

Healthy soil contains organic matter, which is made from things that have died. The dead matter becomes worm food. As the matter is consumed, nutrients are released that feed other living things like plants. All this to say, decay leads to regeneration.

Jesus compared the human heart to soil. Some hearts are hard and cracked, a feeding ground for birds. Others are rocky and shallow. Others are overrun with thorns. But some hearts are like rich soil where seeds thrive and reproduce.

What makes for good soil? Stuff needs to die.

I’ve heard of irrigation systems that target the base of the crops so as to avoid watering the surrounding weeds. Are there things in me being watered that I need to let wither instead?

It is less about striving to produce fruit and more about letting go so the soil of my heart can change to receive the life he is putting in the ground.

The good news is, God set up a world where manure doubles as fertilizer. 


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