When I was a little kid, 9 or 10, sitting in church in a tiny town called Vulcan, a farmer got up front and shared what was on his mind. I sat in my pew, kicking my legs, chewing gum, and pondering his story. In his every-day world, he drove a grain truck, a combine, tended to chickens and cows, shoveled “stuff” in the farm yard, fixed machinery. Yet, he wanted to know what he could do to affect the world for Christ. So, he asked God his questions. And he got a most unusual answer.
Similar to Job, he got a question back rather than an answer – “What’s in your hand?” Interesting how God answers our questions with questions, isn’t it?
A bit surprised at God’s answer, the farmer began to think. “Hmmm, what is in my hand? A hammer, a wrench, a shovel. What does this have to do with changing a world?”
The farmer had simply lived each day, caring for his family. His farm. His neighbors. His community. One year when our church burned down, he joined a group of men to use hammers, wrenches, and shovels to build the new church! While still asking God these questions, he took a missions trip to Haiti. There he swung a hammer, cranked on a wrench, dug with his shovel.
That farmer accomplished so much more than he could ever have imagined. Besides impacting his own community, he served a culture in Haiti. And he never knew how his story impacted a little girl listening in a pew. As events played out, my father went on that same missions trip to Haiti with that farmer and some others from the church. The trip totally changed Dad’s life, too. And so, it changed my life – because we moved to another country! You see, my dad was the pastor of that little church that burned down. He worked side by side with the awesome farmers and others, swinging hammers, cranking wrenches, digging with shovels as they labored to re-build the church. My dad’s heart was so moved after that Haiti missions trip that he gave himself to full time missions for the rest of his life.
When we moved from Canada to the USA to OMS World Headquarters – yes – that same farmer and his brother loaded up one of their big farm trucks and helped move my family “to another country.” Once again – doing with his hands what was in front of him.
The farmer and his wife supported my family (the missionaries) financially for many years with proceeds from their farm where he continued to swing a hammer, crank on a wrench, and dig with his shovel. A precious group from that church also supported my family. This farmer made a mark on the world by simply using what was in his hand.
You might be a business person, or a company president. You might be a homemaker with young children. Maybe you are an engineer, a medical professional, a teacher, a musician, a carpenter, a student. You might be a farmer. Ask God your questions! Let Him answer with His questions. As you discover what is in your hand, simply live each day. Draw close in your heart by faith to the Lord. God is carving your mark on His world. In this simple way, you make a difference – like Ed Hartung did.
Ed is now in Heaven – with Jesus – and with my Dad. I wonder if they are swinging hammers, cranking on wrenches, and digging with shovels. Oh – and cracking jokes. I forgot to mention – laughter and fun were also important elements for that fellowship of Christians. The girl in the pew was listening and watching.
So – what is in your hand?
P.S. Thank you, Ed, for impacting my life!
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