My husband often comments that you need the right tool for the right job. A survey of his workshop area would suggest that he likely has exactly that after all these years and many times over I have appreciated that as he has repaired something that I was sure would need to be replaced. It should be evident to most all of us (even those who are not tool savvy) that a hammer can’t accomplish the task a screwdriver can, and a wrench will be used differently than a socket and ratchet set.
But men don’t have the market on how this wise adage plays out and my husband has been good at helping me in the areas where I need the right tools for the right jobs.
A kitchen is a woman’s workshop and peeking inside the drawers and cabinets in her kitchen will introduce you to a wide variety of gadgets and tools for every conceivable task she may have to create the latest recipe or the old tried and true one. And it’s surprising that for all those fancy gifts you may receive as wedding gifts, you may not use them nearly as much as others you use daily. I can think of just one exception after 57 years of marriage.
We received a beautiful set of handmade knives from a carver in our area and despite other knives we have been given or used from time-to-time, this set gets used multiple times a day and are kept wonderfully sharp through the skill of my husband using a whetstone with precision on the knife edges.
And I am convinced that women should be involved with the design of any kitchen cabinets and drawers because we never seem to have enough of them. Years ago, no one expected you would need room for crockpots, woks, rice cookers, and more.
But have you noticed that of all the utensils you have tucked (or jammed) into a drawer or two that many of them just get shoved around in there while you actually use just a few of them routinely? Some of my favorites are old. There is an antique 3 prong fork with a wooden handle that was a part of a larger set in the farmhouse where I grew up and though I have a few other things I can substitute for that, I choose it routinely to test a potato to see if it is fully baked or to prick a pie crust I am about to put in the oven.
The tools we use most are also the ones with which we have the most practice and can be sure will do exactly what we need them to do. Hence, we will be more likely to pick up a tool we have used for years quicker than a new one we just received, or thought would be nice. The old one is tried and true.
The same principle applies in other areas of our lives as well and that includes how we use the spiritual tools given to us on ordinary days or when caught up in warfare during an enemy assault. You may have noticed that those weapons and tools already available don’t seem to be skillful in our hands if we have not practiced using them regularly.
Remember when young David shows up to bring his brothers some bread and cheese in the Valley of Elah where Goliath is taunting the Israelites by twirling around his twenty-five-pound spear, a head and shoulder above every other warrior on the battlefield? David is stunned to see everyone cowering in the presence of Goliath and offers to take this enemy down for King Saul and claim the reward (the hand of one of the daughters of the king the story says). King Saul was likely stunned at the bravado of this young shepherd and offers him his armor without recognizing what had shaped David’s view of God in this situation.
“In the Bethlehem hills and meadows, tending his father’s sheep, David was immersed in the largeness and the immediacy of God. He had experienced God’s strength in protecting the sheep in his fights with lions and bears. He had practiced the presence of God so thoroughly that God’s word, which he couldn’t literally hear, was far more real than the lion’s roar, which he could hear. He had worshipped the majesty of God so continuously that God’s love, which he couldn’t see, was far more real than the bear’s ferocity, which he could see. His praying and singing, his meditation and adoration shaped an imagination in him that set each sheep and lamb, bear and lion into something large and vast and robust: God.”Eugene Peterson
King Saul meant well in his offer and if we think about it, it would not have been a simple thing for David to have that armor placed on him and then turn down this offer of the king’s own armor. But David knew it would have been a disaster to rely on those weapons. They were not tried, nor did they fit him in more ways than just one. David knew who and what had been with him all those other times as a shepherd tending his father’s flocks and protecting them from enemies.
“Borrowed armor always is (a disaster). David needed what was authentic to him.”Eugene Peterson
That is a powerful lesson for each of us today as we face our own challenges and the taunts of an enemy.
Yes, the well-known story of David and Goliath reminds us that the tried-and-true tool David chose (a sling and 5 smooth stones) was the one he knew well and was skilled in using, but it wasn’t the sling and the stones that were key. David knew God through the trials and testing of daily life and it was He that David counted on, it was God who would carry the day. David was the one who reminded the entire Israelite army of the One they had forgotten.