Parenting can be, better yet, is hard work. Sometimes we find ourselves looking for some good tools to help us in this task of raising our children. As we are faced with the joys and challenges of parenting, we will often find that the tools we need are close at hand. Often, the best tools (and the ones the Lord uses most ) are our own family members.
Webster defines the word tool as: An instrument such as a hammer, saw, plane, file, and the like, used in the manual arts, to facilitate mechanical operations; any instrument used by a craftsman or laborer at his work.
Webster also defines tool in the negative: A person used as an instrument by another person; – a word of reproach; as, men of intrigue have their tools, by whose agency they accomplish their purposes.
God, as a master craftsman, uses tools in his work of shaping hearts, minds, and souls.
Sometimes the tools he uses are his hands, as he did when he molded the clay into the first man. Scripture tells us how God used a donkey to speak words to a fool, a star to lead humble shepherds to a just-born baby, a sensual woman named Delilah to shape the misguided passions of young Samson, an arrogant Pharaoh to lead the broken slaves out of Egypt, and a wavering and indecisive Pilate to put Jesus on a cross.
God’s ways are far beyond our understanding.
We often struggle to understand his purposes. But… I am certain of this, he will perform his good purpose among those who are called according to that purpose. He will use the tools of his choice to accomplish that end.
He will lead, guide, direct, shape, and mold us according to what he knows is best. We are a piece of beautiful, unfinished work of art that God is crafting, created for great purposes and works.
We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
We are very familiar with the phrase; ‘God isn’t finished with me (or my child) yet.’ As parents we see this shaping of lives every day in our families. We are both the artwork and the tool; often at the same time. For our children it is no different. Their lives are being shaped and they also are tools in the hands of the loving God. Our kids are tools that God will use to shape us parents.Yes, I wrote that right. God uses our children to shape us—the parents— into the work of art he is crafting.
We are among his chosen tools he will use to shape and craft beauty in others.
He will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
2 Timothy 2:21 (ESV)
You probably don’t have as many rough edges that need to be filed down or cut away as I do, but God will use your children and mine to help soften the edges and build a better man or woman out of you and me.
For our children it is the same. They are being crafted into better boys and girls or young men or women. God uses us in that work.
Ready or not, the work of the craftsman goes on.
What can we tell ourselves and our kids about this?
- God is molding parent and child into the perfect image of Christ.
- We need each other to help us become mature believers.
- Neither the parent nor the child is perfect. We are all in the shaping process.
- We should all submit to the loving hand of God as he helps us face challenges.
- The family is part of God’s plan to help each member to grow more fully into the beautiful person he has plans for us to become.
Thank you for my family. Help us all to become helpful tools, ready for your use so we can help to make our family, church, and community a better place for everyone.
Are you (am I) prepared and ready for use by the master craftsman?