One of my family’s favorite TV shows from the early 1990’s was “Home Improvement,” starring Tim Allen as “Tim, the Tool Man Taylor.” Some of the genius of the show was the chemistry and dialogue between Tim and his assistant, Al. Tim started his career selling tools for Binford Tools and Mr. Binford, the owner, later gave Tim his own show called “Tool Time.”
Every episode involved Tim and Al on their cable TV show where they would tackle some home improvement project. Tim appeared to know a lot about the tool they were using and was always looking to boost the power output of the hammer gun, saw, etc. Al, a master carpenter (and low-key) partner, shone smartly opposite Tim in his dry-wit and handyman competence.
You could ask Tim about an ailing furnace, plugged up toilet, or how to clear out a stuck garbage disposal. His initial attempts were fraught with hilarious bungling…like the time he was showing how to use quick-drying glue in putting down new wood floors, and ended up gluing his head to a six-foot board. Al would then come to Tim’s defense and handle the project properly.
The experience and intuition of Al and other handymen (and women) saved Tim further pain and humiliation on many occasions. They also diagnosed problems and described solutions before Tim did too much damage. If I run across an episode of the show, I’ll often tune in for laughs.
Those of us who are not gifted or skilled with a mechanical aptitude are often mystified by the astute technical problem-solving skills of others of us. They have a skill that we just don’t have. Yet we can learn from them, can’t we? When Al showed how to actually tackle a home improvement project, many in the audience and those watching at home could take notes and learn how to properly handle it. The reality was Tim and Al did equip many to do home repair on their own, albeit with a lot of humor, and trips to the emergency room afterwards for Tim.
Read Ephesians 4:11-16.
Jesus designed the church to have spiritual and practical-minded leaders whose job it is to help equip all of us for service. In the words of the apostle Paul to the church at Ephesus in the first century, he wrote about the equipping process (verses 11-12). The word used for “equip” is the same word the Gospel writers used to describe the first disciples “mending their nets” (see Mark 1:16-20). In their vocation as fishermen, the disciples knew that holes in their nets would not improve their ability to catch fish. It actually meant lost fish. For the next few years after agreeing to follow Jesus, they would experience Jesus mending holes in their thinking, calling, character, and ministry. Ultimately, Jesus said the disciples would become effective “fishers of men and women” by following Him (Matthew 4:19).
Jesus has created everyone with a gift or skill that can be used to serve people regardless of their age, ethnic status, gender, level of experience, etc. You’ll be amazed at their ability to work with infants, single mothers, professors, and even senior citizens. Watch how they pray, handle the Scriptures, listen to those they are caring for, and the natural way they work with others.
We need each of us to take our place in the Body of Christ and do our part. Where do you need to be trained for service? Who can provide this training? Live communally. All of us, like Al, need to be competent for what God wants each of us to do. Get equipped to serve.
Love is a verb,
©2015 by Mike Olejarz