One of the things my wife does in the fall and winter is work on renovating the house. Our home is over 70 years old, and although the previous owners maintained it quite well, certain things, such as trim, doors, paint, etc., had never been done. My wife says that since we’re in a 4-level house, we’re on a 4-year plan. She completed the upstairs last year, and now she is up to her elbows in paint and trim on the main floor. This year she also took out a few excessive doors and had a drywaller come in to finish the former doorways.
As for me? Well I just sit and watch from the sidelines. And up until this year, my wife seemed content to have me there. What with my lack of 3D vision, coupled with the fact that I seem to have been born without any significant fine motor skills or eye-hand coordination, my contributions to the renovations are definitely of the negative variety.
This year, however, my wife must have forgotten all of that. I was shocked when she suggested I might help her! When I was finally able to close my gaping jaw enough to remind her about my vision and lack of fine motor skills, I couldn’t believe it when she simply smiled and called me over!
I won’t say I did anything outstanding. At least from my perspective, it all seemed pretty menial. I mean, how could I possibly be contributing to the renovation project by holding up the sagging piece of wood my wife was trying to cut? I did put the scrap wood outside, but anyone could have done that, and as for holding the trim in place until she could place the first couple of nails, well she did it all by herself last year, so I’m pretty sure she could manage without me! And did the walls really need to be wiped down before she painted?
I was shaking my head, feeling very much like she was coming up with “make-work” projects to keep me busy, when she began thanking me for my contributions. What? Wait! I didn’t do anything important! I mean, she really didn’t need me to hold her pencil and setting tool! But she continued to insist that I was helping her out, and she even went so far as to say that by having me hold the trim in place, she was bending a lot less nails, and somehow they were all setting properly this time. Now I’m not really sure what it means to set a nail, but I now know what the tool look like, and apparently it made her happy…
This afternoon, however, I could tell she was frustrated. She wasn’t complaining, but the long sighs and the frequent trips back to the saw with the same piece of wood along with the very intent worry lines on her brow gave the clues I needed. She hadn’t assigned me any tasks, but I knew I had to do something. “Would you like a drink?” I asked. The corners of her mouth moved from pointing deeply downward into an upward direction. “I would love a drink!” she said, and for that brief moment, all the frustrated lines were gone from her face.
I stayed with her after that, just telling her what a good job she was doing, and it wasn’t long before the job she was stumped by was done.
As I think about this, I realize that although my wife could have done the job by herself, my contributions, as tiny as they seemed to me, were actually saving her time and frustration. I may not be able to manage a hammer, saw or paint brush, but I could keep her fro losing her pencil and setting tool, and I could help her in other ways, ways that sped up the job and left her feeling less overwhelmed.
There are very few in this world who have an evangelistic calling on their lives; yet we are all called to witness: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-20a NIV). I don’t know about you, but in the face of such a calling, and given my lack of natural gifts in this area, I feel as helpless with this call to witness as I do in the face of home renovations!
But wait. Even though I don’t have an evangelistic call on my life, there are so many things I can do to help the Lord’s work! I can give write, for example. I can give a cup of water in the Lord’s name, I can give money to support various ministries, and maybe most importantly, I can pray for specific and general activities designed to bring people to Christ. Those are just a few trite examples, and you may feel as I do, that they really don’t make much of a difference in the long run. But we have to remember that we the body of Christ: “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Cor. 12:12 NIV). We aren’t all mouths or feet, but without the rest of the body, the mouths wouldn’t be able to speak forth the gospel and the feet wouldn’t be able to go. Every part is important, even the ones that can only hand out water to the thirsty or hugs to those who need comfort.
Are you feeling a bit inadequate when it comes to sharing the gospel? Just remember that even the smallest acts are helpful in furthering the Kingdom of God. Don’t let your lack of natural ability stop you. Just go out and do what you can do. In the end, your “Well done” won’t be coming from my wife; but rather from the Lord Himself: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:34-36 NIV)
In His love,
Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries