Monday, May 7, 2012

Stubborn Screws

Spirit & Truth # 271
“Stubborn Screws”

By Greg Smith

From now until the end of June I will be busy spiffing up our home.  My eldest daughter is getting married (gasp) and wants to have the wedding reception in our back yard.  Among many preparations, I need to take care of the floor surface of our deck, which shows signs of years of abuse and lack of upkeep. 

            “Never fear,” I said to myself.  “I can just flip the boards.”  While a deck’s surface can get ridiculously worn, every board has two sides.  To give a deck a like-new look, all you have to do is flip the board and stain the fresh surface.  Easy.  While I’m no carpenter, I have done it before myself.  But only on decks that were constructed with nails.  This deck, however, is screwed.  Nails you can pull up with a hammer and cat’s paw.  Screws must be (of course) unscrewed.  This sounds easy—so long as the screws aren’t too stubborn.  Stubborn screws will stay stuck, no matter how much torque you apply.  And if your super-powerful cordless drill gives it too much torque, you may just end up stripping the screw heads.  After that, there’s nothing to be done, unless you want to drill out each screw (which I don’t).

            On my deck, some of the screws lifted out nicely.  But others wouldn’t respond at all to the overwhelming force of my Craftsman Contraption.  Instead, the screwdriver bit just skipped up and down, tearing the screw head until it bore no resemblance at all to anything that could be removed.  That’s when I wanted to throw my tools and start cussing.  But I didn’t.  Instead, I moved to another screw and smiled when it responded favorably to the loving guidance of my drill.  Zip.  Zip.  Zip.  Three more came up with no problem.  After I’d had my discouraged machismo re-inflated by the screws that responded favorably, I had enough composure to return to work on those stubborn screws once more.

            Sometimes leading people can be frustrating.  Often people can be like those stubborn screws.  No matter how much you try to move them, they just won’t budge.  Instead of having a tool-tossing tantrum, why not just smile and move on to someone else who will respond to your gentle coaxing?  Don’t let unmovable people get you down.  Instead, focus your attention on those who can be moved.  And who knows—maybe after a few successes, you’ll have enough confidence to return to the sticky screws and get the job done.

            Some boards, however cannot be flipped.  On my deck, I had to eventually face the fact while many of the screws came up with no problem, there were enough stubborn screws to make my boards unflipable.  Rather than getting discouraged, the problem forced me to rethink my approach and realize that there’s more than one way to make my deck beautiful.  Time to get out the power sander and smooth out those splinters.

            If God has called you to lead people, you may be blessed with a whole deck full of movable screws.  On the other hand, sometimes you find so much resistance that the group just can’t be flipped.  Don’t despair.  There are other ways to make your deck beautiful.  In Revelation 21:5, Jesus says, “Behold, I make all things new.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, that God “has made everything beautiful in its time.”  Trust God to help you with the repair work that your group needs.  Wait on His timing.  Let the Master Carpenter do His work.

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