I mean just look at that! Hand saw, hammer, punch awl, Brace and bit, man this thing had it all, and we were on Cloud Nine just having these tools within our reach.
Dad was a bit of a craftsman, and we used to love watching him in the basement, building kitchen cabinets, turning lampstands on a lathe, making intricate kites---he loved wood. Which reminds me of a story, but I'll tell that later.
Anyway, Dad taught us how to use all these brilliant little implements of destruction to create things of our own. He showed us how to hammer, and then he put the hammer in our hand and said, "Now you try." He cut a couple boards with his big handsaw and then set us up with smaller ones to measure and cut. Mark always got his right. Me, not so much. It wasn't from lack of trying, mind you. I just didn't have the steady hands that Dad and Mark had, nor the sharp eye for detail, nor (let's face it) the talent to nail more than one board to anything more than my own foot.
BUT, I tried, and still had fun. And my father exposed us over the years to many other skills besides, from making acrylic-molded sculptures to candle-making, to developing our own photo negatives and prints, to maintaining our own cars. He even taught us how to braze sculptures from coat hanger wire and hardware.
He wanted us to be well-rounded with our hands so we could be more self-sufficient, and maybe in the mix, we could find our calling. Dad pushed us ever on, ever higher, and told us there was no limit to what we could do, if we set our minds to it. All we needed was a vision.
So many times though, I look around and see people with no vision. they get up, go to work, they come home, pay their bills, and go to bed. And the next day, they do it all over again, until they die. I don't know about you, but I am more frightened of dying in a rut than I am of anything else, except maybe large, hairy spiders.
There is a story Jesus told his followers about a landlord departing on a journey. Before he left, he gave each of his servants ten measures of gold, with the understanding that he wanted it back when he returned. Then he left. When he came back home, the first servant came to him, and said "Lord? These ten measures of gold (Gold back then was measured using in "talents.") you gave me, I invested, and turned them into thirty talents. See, here is your gold." The second came to him and said, "I put the gold you gave me to use, and turned it into twenty talents. Here it is, my lord." The third one came and said, "I took your gold and buried it so you couldn't accuse me of losing it. Here it is, all ten measures."
The landlord was impressed with the servants who got their hands dirty and doubled, or even tripled their money, even though they put their talents at risk, and rewarded them richly. The third servant he called "wicked," and threw him out. Look it up; it's called "The Parable of the Talents."
See, I'm going to be held accountable one day for having used the talent I've been given. I want to be able to say to my Maker that I took the tools my father gave me, and I made something with them. Now, that Handy Andy kit has long been gone from my life. But Dad gave me more tools than just a hammer and a brace-and-bit. I have different tools now, and I want to tell God I've put them to use.
Even if you don't believe in God, you're going to be lying on your deathbed one day with the knowledge that you could have done more, stretched yourself farther, reached higher. And it will be too late to do anything then to fix it.
So fix it now. Here's your chance.
I want everyone who reads this post to set a goal THIS WEEK for taking one more step toward fulfilling your true joy. Those are the talents you received from God. It might be writing. It might be enforcing the law. It might be dancing, welding, singing-- whatever it is that God has put in you (remember you have everything in you that you need already), whatever it is that is your True Joy, take one step closer to it.
If you need help making a plan for achieving it, then get help. I want reports, and "I can't" is not an acceptable answer.
Do it. This week. I'll randomly pick four who comment with a NEW STEP toward their goal, and they will get their choice of an eBook by yours truly, Cyrus Keith. I'll even gift it in your name to one person you designate, if you want. Make sure you leave an email for me to contact.
Three, Two, One...Go.