“I don’t think so, Tim.”
Ah, the wisdom of Al Borland, Tim Taylor’s trusted sidekick on the 90s sitcom, Home Improvement.
If you recall, Tim and Al hosted a DIY home improvement show called “Tool Time.” Tim was a bit of a diva. He wanted to run every project, make everything bigger and better and most frequently, give things More Power! (insert caveman-ish grunting here)
But, when it came to actually executing the project, Tim always messed something up. His handiwork was usually accompanied by a crash, explosion or perhaps some injury to Al or himself. Despite his best intentions, Tim Taylor was completely incapable.
Honestly, I’m much the same way. I’m quite incapable. I am not just talking about with home repair, although, my mantra is, “a trip to Lowe’s is never complete without a second trip to Lowe’s.” I’m referring to my ineptitude and inability to be effective at most anything. This has been a chronic problem my whole life.
There was a part of my life for a couple years where was completely unable to care for myself. Anytime I wanted to eat, I had to scream until food was brought to me. Often, I would even soil myself and have to writhe in it until someone would change me.
I’m kidding, of course.
My example being an infant may seem a bit of an extreme, but a good one when it comes to being incapable. As an infant, we are unable to care for ourselves. We can’t walk. We can’t talk. We can’t entertain ourselves. We can’t make decisions. We all had that experience in common. We had to rely on our parents to care for us. We require someone with capable hands to provide for us, nourish us, love us, hold us, clothe us, bathe us, change us and make sure we healthy and growing.
It’s no different 3+ decades later, except that I can go to the bathroom by myself. I still need to have capable hands to guide me, help me make decisions, provide money and food for me, keep me healthy and love me. I require the capable hands of God.
Over the last several posts, I’ve been highlighting my transition from a wonderful secular career to a career in ministry as a missions pastor. It’s by God’s provision that I had a successful career filled with friendships, accolades, nice bonuses and top-notch opportunities for growth and advancement. It is also by God’s provision that I was convicted by the Holy Spirit to desire a career change. As I responded and began seeking where God would have me go next, He brought forth an opportunity with our home church. I was baptized at that church as an adult. I was discipled by the leaders of that church. I was invested in by the community of that church. Soon, I was going to have the privilege of being on staff serving the people at that church and helping fulfill the Great Commission.
I’ve made a lot of great phone calls in my lifetime. Here’s a top five list:
#5: The call to a girl I was dating to let her know the Fraternity I was interested in offered me an invitation to join.
#4: The (collect) call to my dad to let him know I scored my first point in a high school basketball road game.
#3: The call to my parents after I proposed to my wife.
#2: The call to my parents when we were expecting a baby.
and my favorite call of all time:
#1: The call to my wife to let her know we were moving back from Florida so I could become the missions pastor at our church.
“It’s happening,” I said. The rest of the call was somewhat of a blur. I know I heard tears. I withheld mine until I was alone in my hotel room in North Carolina and then I unleashed my emotion in prayer on my knees.
None of that would have been possible without the capable hands of Christ. It was because of his death that I had the opportunity to be saved. It was because of the conviction of the Holy Spirit that I was saved. It is by the Word of God that I continue to be sanctified. God is responsible for creating me, converting me and completing me. Without Him, I would have remained an unwashed sinner and someone who deserved death instead of eternal life.
Over the last 32 years, God’s capable hands molded me. He stripped out insecurities, he removed some imperfections (there are still a lot left). He is making me into the purpose he intended. God’s capable hands provided others in my path; mentors, pastors, friends and a wife that aided in my discipleship.
“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of God.” — Ephesians 4:11-13
It is God who prepares us for our careers, equips us to handle situations and provides opportunities to excel. I was happy with my former career because God used it to build me up. He used it to provide for my family. Now, I am elated to be in a ministry position where my job is to share His love. It is a tall task, because Christ provided the example, one that I’ll never reach.
Ephesians goes on to say, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” (emphasis added)
Without Christ I was just incapable.
Now, I’m in capable hands.