Use it or Lose it

2 Peter 1:3-11

God has bestowed upon us, through his divine power, everything that we need for life and godliness….So, because of this, you should strain every nerve to supplement your faith with virtue….you must make the effort all the more to confirm that God has called you and chosen you.

A man wanted to build a playhouse for his children, but he had no materials, nor did he own any of the tools necessary for the task.

He longed to provide this, not only for his own children, but also for the children of the neighborhood, as there was no good space for them to play, and as a result, many kids got into trouble out of daily boredom.

One day a woman came to the house with a clipboard. The man was sitting outside when she walked up, so he could not avoid her, though he desperately wanted to, having no desire to buy whatever it was she was selling.

“Someone would like to provide you with all the materials and tools necessary to build an amazing playhouse for your son and daughter.”

“What…?” the man said, stunned.

The lady just smiled.

He started to ask, “How did you even—”

“All you need to do is sign here,” she interrupted, “to let us know you accept.”

“Yeah right,” the man replied. “Very funny.”

“Well, perhaps tomorrow. Have a nice day, sir!” she said, smiling genuinely.

Sure enough, she returned the next day with the same offer, and the man gave the same response. “That was really weird”, he thought.

When she came back a third day in a row, the man started figuring she had some sort of mental disorder, and began to pity her.

The following day there was knock on the door, this time during family dinner. The man’s wife asked him to go see who it is. “How inconvenient,” the man muttered under his breath.

Opening the door, he saw the woman yet again, clipboard in hand, smile on face.

“Hello sir!”

“What is this?” he asked, partly to her, partly to himself.

“Just everything you need,” was her odd reply.

The man chuckled in a manner that conveyed both confusion and curiosity, and then said, “That’d be nice.”

“So you’ll accept?” she said with joyful anticipation.

Something inside the man made him want to sign, but he couldn’t explain or understand why. “May I see that?” he nodded toward the clipboard.

She handed it to him.

It was the shortest “contract” he’d ever seen, if you could even call it that.

“I ACCEPT” was all it said, in all capital letters, with a line after it.

“Are you kidding me?”

“I know, right!” The lady’s face was almost glowing as she said it, she was so excited. “Oh, and also, you’ll receive detailed instructions, of course, as well as–this is the best part–a retired playhouse designer and builder available to you everyday should you have any questions or need any help!” She was giddy.

The man couldn’t help but smile, and thought he had nothing to lose, and maybe–as crazy as it sounded—something to gain. And perhaps this mysterious woman would stop coming to the house everyday.

So he took the pen and signed it, saying out loud as he did: “I accept.”

“Yay!!!” was her exuberant response.

“Thank you for your generosity. And persistence.” Even though he felt kinda foolish, he could not help but be polite to her, for she was so enthusiastic that it was infectious.

He kept thinking about the encounter as he fell asleep, smiling.

The next morning he walked to his car and stopped mid-stride as he saw it all—their small yard full of building materials. “No way.” Opening the garage door he saw next to his car every tool imaginable one would need to build just about anything.

Wondering if this was for real, it was difficult to leave and go to work. Yet, at the same time easier than ever, due to the joy overwhelming him.

Getting home at the end of the day, his family couldn’t get over it. His wife saw the instructions on a table and showed him. There was also a business card with nothing but a phone number and the name “Ray”.

He started reading and decided to begin building. He truly had everything he needed. When he got to a confusing part, he called on Ray, who showed up immediately to help explain things in a simple way that made sense. They got to know and cherish each other deeply.

A little into the project, the man’s wife joined in the effort, as did many of their friends. Even the children helped.

After considerable time, and much focused, strenuous effort, the playhouse was built. The man’s children absolutely loved it. The kids from the neighborhood loved it, and played there all the time, no longer feeling it necessary to find trouble.

Over the years, as the children “outgrew” the playhouse, its function began to change. The man and his wife found themselves using the space for times of prayer, and later, worship. They invited others in to share in the experience of a dedicated prayer and worship space.  People from all around heard of this sacred space where many were deeply moved, and came to participate in the goodness that flowed there.

Never did the man imagine that this little structure would be used for so much beyond a playhouse for his children for a few years.

Whenever the man performed routine maintenance, or made improvements on the playhouse, he often reflected on how grateful he was for that strange offer from the persistent woman years ago, and how glad he was that he accepted it, received so much, and that he actually used the tools and materials to build something incredibly beautiful and useful, instead of just letting them sit around.

And perhaps best of all, was the rich friendship that blossomed and grew so deeply between him and Ray.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *