Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Blacksmith's Shop

After reading just a few of the short articles in Max Lucado's first book, On the Anvil, I can certainly see why he has become one of the most read and beloved inspirational Christian authors over the past two decades!

The introduction of the book sets the stage for everything else that follows. His presentation is an awesome allegory that explains what harm sin has done to our souls and how our Master, Jesus Christ, calls us out of that "junk pile." Lucado demonstrates that Jesus uses certain tools to shape us towards our calling in life.

The Blacksmith's Shop

In the shop of a blacksmith, there are three types of tools.





They sit in the cobwebbed corner, useless to their master, oblivious to their calling.

There are tools on the anvil:

melted down,

molten hot,



They lie on the anvil, being shaped by their master, accepting their calling.

There are tools of usefulness:





They lie ready in the blacksmith's tool chest, available to their master, fulfilling their calling.

Some people lie useless:

lives broken,

talents wasting,

fires quenched,

dreams dashed.

They are tossed in with the scrap iron, in desperate need of repair, with no notion of purpose.

Other lie on the anvil:

hearts open,

hungry to change,

wounds healing,

visions clearing.

They welcome the painful pounding of the blacksmith's hammer, longing to be rebuilt, begging to be called.

Others lie in their Master's hands:

well tuned,




They respond to their Master's forearm, demanding nothing, surrendering all.

Wow! What a metaphor for describing one's journey towards salvation in Jesus Christ! Can you relate to this in your own life? I sure can!

I thought long and hard about where I am on that "tool" list. I think that I am halfway between still "lying on the anvil" and "lying in the Master's hands." The Holy Spirit's leading has helped me to be well tuned to God's Word, and uncompromising in it's application to life today. However, I need to confess and admit that the Lord is still working on me to be "polished" and "productive."

There are people whom I know who are definitely well tuned, uncompromising, polished, productive. People like John MacArthur, Dr. David Jeremiah, various Christian authors like Max Lucado, Pastor Miles name a few. I see them preach from the pulpit. I hear about their missionary work. I read their awesome books. Yes. They are polished and productive and able to reach out and encourage other Christians to do the same.

In Chapter One, Lucado shares what it is like to be in "the pile of broken tools."

To find me, look over in the corner of the shop,

over here,

behind the cobwebs,

beneath the dust,

in the darkness.

There are scores of us,

broken handles,

dulled blades,

cracked iron.

Some of us were useful once, and then...many of us never were.

But, listen, don't feel sorry for me.

Life ain't so bad here in the pile...

no work,

no anvils,

no pain,

no sharpening,

And yet, the days are very long.

Are you broken too?

Do you think God might be calling you "off the pile"? What would that require of you?

When I first read that, I though that Lucado was speaking about the unsaved. Then, I realized that he was speaking about Christians!!

"Some of us were useful once, and then...many of us never were."

Ouch!! Convicting words...Amen?? The rest of the article includes the portion that I had included in a previous post.

We are all somewhere in the blacksmith's shop.

We are either on the scrap pile,
Or in the tool chest.

Some of us have been in all three.

In this classic collection of inspirational reading, best-selling author Max Lucado takes us on a tour of the blacksmith's shop - examining every tool and looking in every corner, from the shelves to the workbench, from the water to the fire...

And I'm sure that somewhere you'll see yourself.

Yes. I have seen myself as all three kinds of tools - useless, longing to be rebuilt and called, and responding to the Master's forearm.

Perhaps the "polished" and "productive" part is included in the process of sanctification? It is a lifetime it not?

I think that Christians can have their moments of being polished and productive. However, attaining true excellence in such an area is something to continually strive for. We don't want to rest upon any "laurels" now do we?

I used to feel guilty when I felt like I wasn't doing as much as I have witnessed my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ were doing for the Lord. I would think to myself, 'am I too lazy'? What else should I be doing? As Pastor Miles often says, "Do Something!"

Reading Lucado's next paragraph helped me.

We'll discover what Paul meant when he spoke of becoming "an instrument for noble purposes." And what a becoming it is! The rubbish pile of broken tools, the anvil of recasting, the hands of the Master--it's a simultaneously joyful and painful voyage.

I realized that to be an instrument of noble purposes requires constant "becoming." We have never "arrived," so to speak.

I have felt both the pain of Christian evangelism, as well as the simultaneous joyfulness along the way of this voyage. Of course, I am so blessed to live in the U.S. where pain and suffering is minimal compared to the persecution that Christians endure in much of the rest of the world. Therefore, to whom much is given, much is required.

For those who make the journey -- who leave the heap, enter the fire, and dare to be pounded on God's anvil--a grand privilege awaits: to be called one of God's chosen instruments.


I'm willing...are you?

No comments: