Plus GOD minus STONE = …

Can you Drive? 

Many years ago, I was walking down the street when I met a brother whose car had stubbornly refused to continue the journey with him.  He had been trying all he could to tease it into a start by touching its tender knobs and intestinal wires, his hands greased with frustration. He was glad as I walked up to him.  He asked me to take the driver’s seat as he tried one more time to rouse the reluctant engine back to life.  I sat in the car, turned on the engine, and it revved into a merry start.  The brother was relieved at last and came in to resume his trip, but the engine died as soon as he took over from me.  He tried to start the car again, but the engine would not respond to his many pleas.  He got out and requested me to I get back into the driver’s seat while he returned to resume his mechanical communications with the adamant engine.  

Once more, I turned the ignition key, and the car seemed ready to go. He got back thankfully to take his place and commence his trip.  As soon as he took the driver’s seat, strangely, the engine died again.  He tried all he could to restart it, but it mocked his every effort with a strange gasping cough.  One more time we exchanged places.  I was in, he was out.  This was the third time.  I turned the key and the engine started again.  He stood outside watching me do the simple turn, and then he asked me the one question I would never forget: “Can you drive?”  I had not learned to drive, but I was a very anointed young person of prayers.  He seemed to know that if he got back into the car, the engine would die again.

I had the anointing to start the car, but lacked the skill to drive it.  He had the skill to drive the car but lacked the anointing to start it.  Of course, I got out and the engine died again. He did not bother anymore to resume the efforts.  He seemed to know what would follow.  We both – the anointed and the skilled – had to push that rebellious car some 200 meters to a friend’s house to park it that hot afternoon, sweating and greasy.  That day I learned an eternal lesson I now share with you, that anointing is good, but anointing plus skill is better. At least I would have saved myself the public punishment of pushing a rebellious car that hot afternoon if I then also had the skill of driving in addition to the anointing for starting the car.

Beyond Praying… 

Prayer may be powerful, but prayer alone is not always all.  Strength could be impressive, but strength without skill could be a tricky risk.  Skill says much, but skill without anointing is like a good engine without lubrication. Anointing glows, but anointing alone without skill is sometimes less helpful than skill alone.

Anointed Stones in Skillful Hands 

God used a mere stone in the hands of the young David to kill the mighty Goliath, but David had had to go look for the stone, and a ‘right’ stone at that (1 Samuel 17:40).  Besides, David had not waited until that morning to start his stone-throwing lessons (1 Samuel 17:34-37).  He might have had little success with a stone on that auspicious day if he had never previously learned to use the stone.  Were God still bent on using David for that Project, He might then have had to bless a different weapon in David’s hands, or get some other more prepared stone-thrower to finish Goliath; or Israel might then have had to endure Goliath for many, many more days while God and His people lamented the lack of a skilled and anointed messiah.  Plus God minus stone might not that day have meant the same success as David + stone + God.  It may then be true to propose the equation that + God + David – skill – stone = 0.

Commissioned Hooks in Competent Hands 

When Jesus needed to arrest the fish that carried the money He urgently needed for settling a pending tax in His city, Jesus did not send Matthew the tax collector; He did not send Judas the Treasurer.  He sent Peter the fishermen; a man who had prior skills with the tools for addressing that fish-money matter.   Might mortal skill be ever needful in divine interventions?  Ask Peter when he sailed out by prophecy in search of one fish that had his Master’s money in the mouth; and ask the ‘disadvantaged’ David when he faced the giant Goliath without a sword in his hand.

Between Peter and Paul 

Peter the fisherman started the Apostolic race before Paul the lawyer, but how many books did Peter write, in spite of how powerfully he had preached on Pentecost Day?  How far Peter and Paul went or did not go was not all the function of anointing, or of prayer and fasting.  How much ‘stone-throwing’ skill each had brought into their call was also a crucial factor.

God does not bless Nothing 

God gives victory, but often through the ‘stone’ in our hands.  Satan said to the Lord about Job, “thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land” (Job 1:10).  There had to be “works” for God to bless, before there was an increase in “substance” in the land.  Job’s hands had a “work” of which even Satan was not unaware.  God did not bless nothing in the hands of Job; He blessed something in the hands of Job. If you want God’s blessing, bring something in your hands; something that God can bless.  God does not bless nothing (2 Kings 4:2-3).

God asked Moses in the bush, “What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod” (Exodus 4:2). There had to have been something in the hand of Moses; something that God could bless, even if it had seemed all the while as a mere shepherd’s rod.  The fact that “victory comes from God” in no way means that we are not to prepare for the conflict” (Proverbs 21:31, The Living Bible).  To “lean not” on our understanding does not mean to never use it at all (Proverbs 3:5).

What is in your hand?  Again, I ask, especially in this season as the Church faces an anti-Christ brutally determined on her extermination, What is in your hand?

From The Preacher’s diary,
June 10, 2017. 

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