Platform: Handyman on a Mission
If you ask people what the tools of a missionary’s trade are, I think many responses tend to lean toward items such as short-wave radios, or medical kits, or foreign-language textbooks, or perhaps even a truck loaded with supplies. But what I have learned in the last six years, especially in the two and a half years since coming on staff as custodian at my church, is that the tools of a mission-minded person can look just like...well, actual tools. You know—things like drills, wrenches, hammers, and screwdrivers.
For a long time I was a bit unsure about the Lord’s leading because, while I definitely had a heart to serve people, I really didn't sense God directing me or opening doors to any mission projects—even short-term ones. Instead, God was consistently keeping me local, planting me in construction and carpentry types of jobs, teaching me ingenuity and how to use the tools of these trades.
As I became proficient with a wrench, God also began teaching me that the idea of “Christian mission” doesn’t always fall into categories like giving food to the hungry, clothes to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. Sometimes a helping hand with a screwdriver or a drill carries just as much ministry potential as any mission named above. As I said to a fellow staff member the other day, “You can do a lot of good just by tightening a few screws.”
Are you good with tools? Take a good look around you; this could be your mission field, too. Although there aren’t many missionary field guides or seminary courses geared toward those of us who know our way around clogged toilets or broken doors, please don't let that blind you to how God can use such gifts for his glory. The fact is, any gospel-minded person, with a few skills and a few tools, can be sent by the Lord to help with the needs of people around us. Knowing that sure makes me feel like I, too, can play a part in advancing the kingdom.
I am excited to see where God sends my toolbox and me in the future.
Scott Zeilenga writes on Christian life, work and vocation, and home-repair projects. He is the minister of maintenance at Bethel Reformed Church in Sheldon, Iowa. “Platform” gives RCA members a chance to share their opinions.