Growing up next door to the automobile capital of the world (Detroit, MI) you couldn’t help to notice the small tool and die shops in many of the local industrial parks. I remember driving down one main street for over an eight-mile stretch and counting the small tool and die factories next to each other on both sides of the street. I was told that when the automobile companies would need a rush job, they would start on one side of the street and contact each establishment until they found someone who was willing to take the work for as low a price as possible. Many of these shops were own and operated by one or two individuals with a very small crew. What they all had in common was their age; most of the very good tool men then where in their fifties and sixties. Not too many young people were going into the tool and die trade because of the opportunities being developed in the computer world. But these professionals took great pride and honor in mastering their craft.
Between my freshman and sophomore college years, I took a summer job working in a heavy metal stamping plant. For the eight weeks that we worked, and I mean work, we operated several large metal stamping presses that could easily reshape any human part found under its weight. It was here that I witnessed how professional toolmakers handcrafted their work. The engineer department would give them the drawings; they would build a prototype, test it, and then build the final die that would be the mold for the final part of the design. The mold would be taken by one of these professionals and installed into the metal stamping machine. From there, labors like me would place a flat sheet of metal on top of the table. Here I would press the two buttons, one for each hand, and the heavy metal top would plunge on top of the mold exerting its heavy weight and force to reshape the metal sheet into a fender or grill or whatever the designed call for.
Likewise, when we accept our calling to become disciples of Jesus Christ, I sometimes wonder if a type of mold is pre-made in heaven for you and me. A plan is prepared by our Heavenly Dad, implemented by Jesus, and supported by the work of the Holy Spirit. That mold is to shape you and me into the perfect image of our Lord. It is to take our personality, mind, talents and reshape it upon the foundation of the righteous character of Jesus Christ. As we yield ourselves to Him, He takes the life experiences that we walk through and builds within us a new creation. (2cor5: 17) In addition,
He may give us special gifts, talents and skills that we don’t naturally possess, so that we will glorify God by taking a journey we would normally never take on our own. Our Maker deserves all the credit. We are simply that piece of metal sheet that lies under the weight of life’s metal stamping machines that when harnessed reshape our lives into the perfect image of our Lord.
Our Great Heavenly Dad, we glorify your work. And we glorify You. Everything of value and worth comes from You. As the Bible states, “every good gift comes from You.” You have taken this life and as I have yielded, You have molded and shaped it into a life of richness. You have allowed me to live in America; a land of freedom where even the poorest are better off than most people around the world. You have made me neither rich nor poor, but have given me enough to sufficiently live healthy and provide for my family’s needs. Yon have at times even blessed us with special occasions that we will remember forever. But more so, you have given us the assurance that you are creating and shaping us into your divine likeness. Though there are still many rough edges that need to be eradicated, we are always amazed to see those small changes that only you could bring about. Thank you for caring and always being there when we need someone to lend us a helping hand. As always, we come to you only because of the authority of Jesus. Amen.