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Use the Appropriate Tool

July 25, 2013

I know someone who used a bow and arrow to try to kill a squirrel. Did I mention the squirrel was in his house and he had never shot a bow before? It was a bunch of fun to hear the story, and I would have paid good money to see it on YouTube. There is something here that we can apply to our spiritual life – use the right tool at the appropriate time.

Using the appropriate tool can mean two things. First, use the tool which is appropriate to the situation. For example, a bow being used in the woods would be more appropriate than one being used in the home. Using the bow on a deer or turkey is more appropriate than trying to hit a squirrel with it. When we are sharing our faith we need to find the appropriate tool for each situation. When a person is struggling with the sudden death of a child, reminding them all things will work for good is probably the wrong tool, whereas sharing David’s anguish at the loss of his son or Jesus’ death may be more appropriate. Words can be helpful and harmful. Select the tool carefully before you address the issue. Do not harm as they tell doctors. If in question, share your love with them. Do not be afraid to answer “I don’t know.” Use the appropriate tool.

Second, use a tool you actually know how to use. Just because I can fly a plane on a video game, I doubt you want me to try to land a Boeing 747. Or in the example above, if the bow was the appropriate tool for the situation, it ceases to be appropriate if you don’t know how to use it. Don’t be afraid to admit you are the wrong person for the task. Do not stop there though. Help find the right person. Finding the right person is showing love and care for the person. In most cases they will appreciate you admitting you are ill-equipped and helping them find the right help. Walking with someone is as much of a help as having the right answers.

So what happened to the squirrel? The bow never got close. There was a hole cut in a wall which did not help. The exterminator was called. Before he arrived the squirrel left the home without any help. In other words, he solved his own crises with a little human motivation – how often is that true with humans? Find the right tool today.

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