When my father passed away, I inherited his collection of tools. Unfortunately, unlike my dad who was a master mechanic and a consummate “Mr. Fix-It,” I don’t think I have a mechanical gene in my body. I can turn a screw or hammer a nail if necessary, but when something needs to be repaired, usually I shrug my shoulders and try to decide which handyman to call.
Some tools, however, I am very familiar with and use extensively. As a writer and editor, my “toolbox” consists of words, sentences, paragraphs and punctuation marks. As I write this, I’m utilizing a tool called a computer, with my fingers tapping out words on a tool known as a keyboard.
I often illustrate things I write using images created with another tool I enjoy using – a camera.
Some of us might not have skill using devices like hammers, saws, wrenches and screwdrivers, but we use other kinds of tools to accomplish necessary tasks. In our homes we have washing machines and dryers, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, electric garage door openers and water heaters.
Technology has given us an unending parade of tools supposedly to make our lives easier, including smartphones that now have more capacity than many computers had just decades ago. We have tools that can automatically turn lights on and off in our homes, as well as regulate the heat and air conditioning, and machines that can vacuum the floors without our help. Those able to afford it can buy self-driving cars – they just need to get in before the vehicles leave.
Whatever activity we can think of, there’s probably a tool to help in getting it done, from the moment we awaken to the second we lay our heads on the pillow to sleep.
But how about the spiritual dimension of our lives? What tools do we have for enhancing the quality of our walk with God?
One is obvious: the Bible, the Word of God. There’s no better tool for navigating the turbulent seas of right living. It provides timeless guidelines for morality and ethics. It helps establish priorities – to distinguish the important from the urgent, the best from what’s merely good. It gives answers to, “Why am I here?” “What’s my purpose in life?” “How can I know God?” “What happens when I die?” “Where can I find true peace and meaning in a chaotic, ever-changing world?”
As 2 Timothy 3:16-17 declares, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Years ago, I wrote a book of workplace meditations, “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace.” It shows how timeless principles from the Bible apply to the contemporary marketplace in practical ways.
Many of these same principles are useful for other areas of life as well – marriage, family, finances, leisure pursuits, our use of time, handling stress, communications, even sports. Especially in dealing with sin and our need for forgiveness. I love how this is expressed in Jeremiah 15:16, “Your words were found and I ate them. And your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart.”
The quality of our tools keeps getting better and better. This is true for the Bible and our ability to use it effectively. I can still remember, way back in 1978, when I discovered translations besides the revered King James Version, which dates back to 1611. Even though it has undergone numerous revisions through the years, some of its archaic terminology can challenge the reader.
The first modern translation I encountered was the New American Standard, although today we have dozens of accurate translations from which to choose, along with well-considered paraphrases. For someone seriously interested in giving the Bible an honest look, there are no longer any barriers.
We have a seemingly unending array of Bibles targeted to different interest groups – such as men, women, married couples, teens, children, business people, folks going through recovery programs, even editions to guide readers through the Bible in a year. Add to this amply footnoted study Bibles, commentaries, concordances, books, dictionaries and maps, and we have countless resources to help in fulfilling the command of 2 Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
One tool that’s often overlooked is a systematic approach to memorizing Scripture passages, a way to not only read and think about the Word of God, but also to file it in our spiritual filing cabinets for easy access, especially when a Bible might not be readily available or appropriate to pull out at the moment.
I began using one such plan decades ago, The Navigators’ Topical Memory System, and have been able to retain many of the verses I learned through the years. As David wrote in Psalm 119:9,11, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word…. I have hidden my word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
“Hiding” biblical truth in our hearts by memorization dates back to the ancient Israelites, but its value and importance have never gone out of style. It enables us to experience the promise of Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
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Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is email@example.com.