It was a hot dry midmorning summer day, and I was already drenched with sweat. The project of the day: relocating 1/10 of a mile of compost.
Because of the density and makeup of the pile, this was “hand work.” As in: no tractors. Shovels, rakes and pickaxes were the tools we had on hand.
Mid-project, a welcome interruption came in the form of a neighbor passing by. “That’s quite a job there,” came the voice from his (I might add) air-conditioned truck. “If it were me,” he continued, “I think I would use a pitchfork.” “Well…” I responded, “Sadly, my pitchfork broke a couple of hours ago!” “No problem; I’ll go grab mine for you!” he said, and off he went.
Three hours later, covered in dirt and soaked in sweat, I was feeling grateful for my neighbor’s willingness to share his tools. It had easily cut an hour off of our work.
My grandfather frequently said, “The job is never challenge. It’s not having the right tools.” Which of course has much broader implications than for manual labor.
Paul tells the good folks in Ephesus about the need to “. . . equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ . . .” It is clear that Paul believes that it is important for the early followers of Jesus to have the tools they need to do the work God is calling them to do.
The same is true for us. The language the Church uses for ‘equip’ or for ‘tools’ is “formation.” All of us have been given gifts for ministry. And all of us need ongoing formation, equipping: getting the right tools to most effectively use our God-given gifts to meet the world’s needs.
As such, and with the beginning of a new program year right around the corner, I not only invite you — I encourage you — to take advantage of the incredible formation resources in your local faith communities or at our School For Formation.