I’m just a tool, and so are you;
An instrument used by Another.
Like a drill driving a screw
We’re fitted with our sister and brother.
Stored in a divine box ever ready,
I’m just one of many fine tools
Used by the One Who holds me steady
And cares for us like precious jewels.
But the key I’ve learned, just being me,
When the Master works His eternal plan,
Is to rest in the fact that I am free
To be or not to be the tool in His Hand.
I have many different tools for many different jobs. For instance, if I want to drive a nail into a board, I’ll use a hammer. If I want to pack my pipe, I’ll use a tamper. If I want to eat cereal, I’ll use a bowl and a spoon. These are just a few examples of the different tools I use to accomplish different tasks.
Let’s go deeper. I have more than one hammer. To drive a nail, I’ll probably use a metal hammer instead of a rubber mallet. And while I can drive a nail with the butt of a screwdriver handle, the hammer is the best tool for the job. I can hear construction guys now saying how a nail gun is the best tool for the job, but I argue that it depends on the job. If I’m framing a house, then a hammer will work, but a nail gun is certainly the more efficient tool. If I’m hanging a picture, then a nail gun may be overkill, while the hammer works to specifications.
I also have more than one tamper or pipe tool. I have a multitool that has a tamper, a scraper, and a pick, and I have a tool that is just a tamper. While both will work to pack my pipe, the just-a-tamper is conclave with holes; I can pack my tobacco into a dome that lights and burns more evenly, and I can tamp while I puff and not put out the light. The multitool’s tamper is flat, and I simply tamp down the tobacco into the pipe bowl. Both work, but the conclave tamper is sometimes the better tool for the task I’m seeking to perform.
I also have more than one bowl and spoon. I can use a large bowl or a small bowl; I can use a large spoon or a small spoon. What size bowl I use depends on how much cereal I desire to eat. If I want to eat a lot of cereal, a small bowl might work, but I’ll have to refill it once or three times. In the meantime, one large bowl would do the job more efficiently. And I always prefer a larger spoon for my cereal. A small spoon would work, so this one’s just my preference.
Here’s where I come in. In my human nature, I desperately want to be used by God. I’ve got to find “my place in this world”, so to speak. What is God’s purpose for my life? So, in my own effort to answer this question, I strive after everything I can. For instance, my human nature likes glory and praise, so I desire to be used for big and glorious things (read: being famous for God). My human nature is also very self-centered, so I often times believe that I am the only, or at least the best, tool God can use for any given work. I mean, obviously, if it has anything to do with my life, then I’ve got to be the tool to accomplish the task, right? And since it’s my life, then I’ve got to do it big, but I will, of course, give God all the glory and praise.
I know that I used to be of the mindset that everything was about me. God wants to bless me for His glory, and it would look like something that just so happened to bring me glory, too. Then I started to listen to the whisperings I’d hear while reading scripture as opposed to the roarings I’d hear while watching preachers. Those whisperings carried a completely other message: it’s all about Christ. While Christ loved me and redeemed me and gave me right standing with the Father, it was all for His purpose, not my glory. It was for His gain, not my fame. It was for Him, not me. He wouldn’t have done anything simply for my sake if it wasn’t what He was after in the first place. Without Him, I was lost and bound for death. But because it pleased and benefited Him, I am found and bound for Life.
Realizing this truth, it’s about and for Him – not me, shifted my perspective on being used by God. The tool doesn’t receive the glory, the One using the tool does. The hammer cannot drive the nail without me. Likewise, the tamper will never tamp the tobacco unless I use it. And the bowl will sit empty until I pour the cereal into it and use the spoon to eat the cereal. I never praise my spoon for feeding me my cereal. While I’ve appreciated my new conclave tamper, I recognize the job done (which could be done by any other conclave tamper), and I don’t glorify the tamper. And while I’m glad to have a hammer to use instead of a screwdriver handle, the hammer isn’t what I was after – I was after the nail being driven into the board.
So, now, I’m ok with being just a tool. If God decides to pull me out and use me to help plant a church, then so be it. If He chooses to use somebody else, then that’s His prerogative; He’s the One using the tool. If He wants to reach my kiddos through friends and other saints instead of me, then I understand that I am not the only tool in His box. I may think I’m the best tool for the job, especially concerning my kiddos, but I’m not the one using the tools – God is. While I am a tool at His disposal, I’m not always going to be the right tool for the job. While I might work to accomplish something, I may not be the best tool for the job. And all of that is ok. It’s taken me quite some time to get to this place, and I confess that I’m not there perfectly, but I’m also not as stressed out about trying to figure out where I fit in to all of it. I’m free to be or not to be the tool that He uses. I’m just a tool.