What’s In Your Toolbox?

22 Dec

“Maybe it’s time we get a toolbox that doesn’t just count what’s easily counted, the tangible in life, but actually counts what we most value, the things that are intangible.”
~ Chip Conley

Mary was the mother of Jesus Christ. But, what about His foster father? We know that God is Jesus’ Father; but, something needs to be mentioned about Joseph, the husband of Mary. He was entrusted by God to raise Jesus, to protect Him, and to love Him. He did so as faithfully as one could do.

Joseph was a carpenter, a wood-worker. It is generally assumed that Jesus would have learned that trade as He was growing up, though He went in another direction when He began His public ministry. I often imagine what the child Jesus must have been like while watching Joseph. Would he be scrambling for tools to hand His father? Would He be trying to help in projects? How quickly would he have learned the names and uses of each of the tools in Joseph’s workshop?

We all have toolboxes. Some of us have actual, real tools because we work on cars, electricity, plumbing, or wood. But all of us have another kind of toolbox that we can turn to any time we need.

I remember one of my scripture professors at St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein holding up a Bible at the beginning of his course one year and telling us, “Men, this is your toolbox. Inside it are all the tools that you will need to build your lives.” As you can imagine, he was quite the professor and extremely devoted to the scriptures. He would discuss their development, lovingly talking about the derivations of words from Aramaic, Greek, and Latin as he spoke of different passages. To him, the passages were alive, not merely printed words.

That is the way our faith needs to be: something more than printed words. We need to be passionate about our beliefs. We need to know them as best as we can, inside and out, if we are to be the living examples of the faith that we are called to be. No one can do that for us. We have to do it for ourselves.

It begins by taking our toolbox in hand, opening it up, and delving into it. Today’s Jesse Tree symbol is a carpenter’s hammer.

FAITH ACTION: Make sure that you have an adequate amount of “tools” to inform your faith life: Bible, spiritual reading, scripture commentaries, and the like.