The Tool Rightly Employed

My father-in-law Wayne Roach is easily one of the most skilled craftsmen I have ever met, a right proper carpenter!  Wayne seems to have a tool for everything one could ever need-to-do, and he knows tricks of the trade (or as he calls them “cheats”) and work-arounds for every construction conundrum I have ever encountered.  That man knows the proper way to employ tools, techniques, and wise-foresight to plan and execute any project.  Wayne’s daughter; the love of my life (Lisa) is a tremendously hard worker and brilliant in her own right, but she did not inherit her father’s knack for predictive carpentry.  I will say it this way:  her use of tools we might generously describe as “creative application” (let the reader understand: dangerous misuse); and she occasionally ends up with a construction “situation” caused by winging it, that she tries to resolve with a glue-gun and whatever object at hand she considers to be disposable.  Both of these people are wonderful, amazing, and gifted.  But I draw out this difference between them in the proper understanding, employing, and wise usage of tools; because it illustrates a central piece of Christian theology that is all wrapped-up in our topic for this week: namely “sanctification”.

The term sanctification is one that you only ever hear in church and typically not very often even there.  Many ministers avoid the term lest the audience roll their eyes at “high-theology” and zone out until the preacher gets “more practical.”  Some of you may be doing that right now… come back and listen!  “Sanctification” is OUR word and one that every Christian should own (really really understand).  The term “sanctified” in the biblical texts nearly always is some version of being made holy (set apart for God), but in its most basic form means “the proper state of functioning” or “set apart for use in its proper role.”  So the sanctified wood chisel might be the one that is sharp, well-oiled, and well used (need we say on wood?) or the sanctified spoon is the one that is structured rightly, is clean, fits well into the hand, and is being used to great food-scooping effect.  The sanctified wood screw is the one that bites neatly into the pre-drilled, and counter-sunk hole without stressing the wood and without going through it to project dangerously out-the-other-side… so that a glue-gun and a butter dish is required to cover the sharp projecting metal… because we would want a child’s hand to be impaled… (a purely arbitrary illustration, of course).  So then at a most basic level, the sanctified person is the one that is “in the proper state of functioning” or “being properly employed in the intended way”.  This begs the question: “What, for the human, is the proper state of functioning?”  The only one who could possibly know or define that would be God.  This week we’ll be connecting the dots on how our spiritual discipline for this week (confession and repentance) is intimately tied to this state of sanctification (proper function).

P.S. For those worried that I might be demeaning or belittling my wife; worry not!  Lisa has a wonderful sense of humor about these construction mishaps and has given me permission to discuss this publicly.  Rest assured Lisa remains my best friend, and entirely realistic regarding her carpentry prowess.

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