In the shop of a blacksmith, there are three types of tools. There are tools on the junk pile: outdated, broken, dull, rusty. They sit in the cobwebbed corner, useless to their master, oblivious to their calling. There are tools on the anvil: melted down, molten hot, moldable, changeable. They lie on the anvil, being shaped by their master, accepting their calling. There are tools of usefulness: sharpened, primed, defined, mobile. They lie ready in the blacksmith’s tool chest, available to their master, fulfilling their calling. Some people lie useless: lives broken, talents wasting, fires quenched, dreams dashed. They are tossed in with the scrap iron, in desperate need of repair, with no notion of purpose.
Others lie on the anvil: hearts open, hungry to change, wounds healing, visions clearing. They welcome the painful pounding of the blacksmith’s hammer, longing to be rebuilt, begging to be called. Others lie in their Master’s hands: well tuned, uncompromising, polished, productive. They respond to their Master’s forearm, demanding nothing, surrendering all.
We are all somewhere in the blacksmith’s shop. We are either on the scrap pile, in the Master’s hands on the anvil, or in the tool chest. (Some of us have been in all three.) From the shelves to the workbench, from the water to the fire…I’m sure that somewhere you will see yourself.
Paul spoke of becoming “an instrument for noble purposes.” And what a becoming it is! The rubbish pile of broken tools, the anvil of recasting, the hands of the Master- it’s a simultaneously joyful and painful voyage. And for you who make the journey—who leave the heap and enter the fire, dare to be pounded on God’s anvil, and doggedly seek to discover your own purpose—take courage, for you await the privilege of being called “God’s chosen instruments.”
From On the Anvil: Stories On Being Shaped Into God’s Image