Last summer, my oldest son and I were going through a set of challenges and experiences that we called, “Chandler’s Induction Into Manhood.” He had turned thirteen just before school ended, and I wanted to commission him for the years of maturing that were ahead.
One of the challenges involved three days at an undeveloped piece of land that his grandfather owned in Texas. During our stay, we had several objectives that involved building character and learning skills, and one required my son to help build a gazebo deck. Neither he nor I had ever built one, but Granddad was on hand to lend instruction and expertise. It was a fun experience, and Chandler learned quite a bit about handling tools, making measurements, and sticking with a job until it was done.
But even better than that, this challenge taught us something about the nature of God. You see, Granddad could easily have built that deck on his own. It would have been completed faster, with less waste, and in the end, it probably would have looked better. He didn’t need our help. He had been doing carpentry work most of his life and had the callouses to prove it. In fact, I’ve always thought that his spiritual gift has something to do with building, crafting and fixing things. It’s what God designed him to do.
He could have done it all on his own, but Granddad saved a part for his grandson, because he knew that it would bless him. Granddad saw an opportunity to teach his grandson some carpentry skills and an opportunity to do some mentoring, so he set aside the deck project until his grandson could be there to help with it.
Isn’t that just like what God does with each of us? He’s an all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere God. What does He need us for? Nothing really. He could fix all the world’s problems; He could save all the lost people; He could heal all the hurting on His own, but He takes joy in saving a part for us to do.
That’s why He waited to feed the 5,000 until He had five loaves and two fish from a young boy. That’s why He asked Peter and the others to bring some of the fish He had just put in their nets even though He already had some on the fire. That’s why He brought a boy named Zoloo all the way to Chiang Mai from Mongolia when He could easily have healed him in his own country.
When my son finished working on that deck, he was so proud of it! He had no idea that he was capable of completing a project like that, and his confidence in his own abilities grew. The experience changed him, moved him closer to being a man. It was well-worth the the extra effort, time and material waste to produce the masterpiece of a young man.
God saves us a part to do, because he wants to train us, to equip us and to test our hearts. And like Chandler’s granddad, he also saves that piece, because he wants relationship with us. He wants to work alongside us, because He loves us. The project is important, but it’s second priority. His first priority is you.