A Small Adjustment

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Speaking of chainsaws (see Stuart’s devotional yesterday), I enjoyed the joke about the guy who had his first chainsaw: “What’s that noise?” I laughed out loud. And I thought about it again later in the day as I was making a lot of noise in my backyard using my chainsaw.

I’m sitting by a fire this evening, as I have for much of the afternoon. Some fifteen years ago, Jill and I purchased a wood burning fireplace at the Rand Easter Show. It’s definitely proved to be one of our best investments. During winter, we use it frequently, and so we burn a lot of wood.

I get a lot of delight not only from the fireplace, but also from cutting trees and splitting wood. On Monday, I cut up a lot of wood that Theuns Human kindly brought me from a tree he was cutting down at his home. But let me back up a bit.

On Monday morning, I began browsing the Internet looking for a good deal on a chainsaw. (My day off, lest anyone accuse me of surfing at the office!) I haven’t used mine for quite a while since being told by a dealer, to whom I had taken it for a service early last year, that the saw was of no use any longer and could only be repaired at a cost greater than a new one. At the time I was not willing to spend the money. After all, I had plenty of firewood (too much, in fact). So I hadn’t given it any thought. But now I was facing the reality that I needed to swallow hard and make the purchase. I needed to cut a growing pile of wood and get it ready to be split.

I mentioned to Tembani, who works for me, (a wonderful person and a great worker) that I needed to get a new saw. He asked if he could have a look at it. Long story short, after doing whatever he did—vroom! The chain saw was resurrected! Apparently, all it needed was a small adjustment—a little bit of work on a simple spark plug! Not only did his assistance save me a chunk of money, but he also enabled me to enjoy an afternoon of playing lumberjack.

So, what’s the point? Simply that, sometimes, when things are broken in our lives, all we need is a friend to have a look and give us a “tweak.” Sometimes our troubles require a lot of work, and sometimes we simply need a small adjustment, a little bit of sandpaper on a spark plug, and then we motor away in productivity.

I think of Paul who made a simple appeal to Euodia and Syntyche to sort out whatever tensions had arisen between them (Philippians 4:1–4)—and his appeal to his “true companion” to help them sort this out. I think of Paul’s exhortation to Timothy reminding him that he had no need to fear but rather he should display, love, power, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:6–7). Paul then fleshed out what this looks like and assumed Timothy would respond and get busy “cutting the wood” of the word (see 2 Timothy 2:15). Consider Nathan confronting David with the simple yet convicting statement, “You are the man!’ (1 Samuel 12:7). Or, when Jesus said, “for the third time, ‘Do you love me?’” Peter was humbled and restored (John 21:15–17). And as they say, the rest is history.

Run your mind through the Scriptures, and through your own life, and you will probably find other examples. An uncomfortable rub from the sandpaper of truth often results in the warm enjoyment of a closer walk with the Lord.

I am thankful for Tembani, and for the many Tembanis that God has used to make small adjustments to help me along the way. May the Lord not only put such people in our life this week, but may we be these people ourselves.

Being adjusted, and adjusting with you,

Doug