I am the world’s worst handyman.
I don’t mean that I’m an average handyman, or even a bad one. I wouldn’t even call myself a really bad handyman. I am literally the worst handyman ever. In fact, if someone posted video clips of my attempts at basic household repair on YouTube, I promise you I would become an overnight Internet sensation—that’s how bad I am.
I realized this the day Lisa and I moved into our ﬁrst house and our furnace’s pilot light went out. Somehow I convinced myself that the house was going to blow up, so I did something I quickly learned you’re not supposed to do: I frantically called 911. Evidently ﬁremen don’t like to send out hook and ladder ﬁre trucks, ambulances, and police cars at 1:42 a.m. just to help you relight your pilot light. Apparently new neighbors don’t like it when you do that either.
Adding to the case against my ever receiving the “Mr. Home Improvement of the Year Award,” large brown spots appear in my front yard every summer, but the lawn isn’t my greatest challenge—it’s the soaring weeds growing in the beds around the house. I’ve tried killing them, but I’m convinced they have some kind of supernatural death-resistant DNA, so I simply gave up trying. This past summer Lisa attempted to pull the weeds herself. She walked into the house forty-ﬁve minutes later covered in a thick layer of sweat and dirt and asked, “Where’s the ax?”
Last year, to the shock of everyone who knows me, I singlehandedly bought, transported to my house, and replaced a toilet for our bathroom, and no one was signiﬁcantly injured. My problem isn’t that I’m not smart enough to do everything that’s on my household to-do list. I’m pretty sure I can ﬁgure most of this stuﬀ out. My problem isn’t even time. I’ve got a few extra hours every week to squeeze some projects into my schedule.
My problem isn’t any of these things.
My problem is simple: I’m the world’s worst handyman because for the past several years, all I’ve done is focus on reaching people far from God. That’s it. Outside of my family, which I’ve always prioritized, that’s all I’ve done. Anything beyond that priority, including handyman jobs around the house, falls by the wayside.
A few years ago, I stumbled upon a passage of Scripture that became a life verse for me. Let me share it with you,
What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. (1 Cor. 7:29–31)
Unlike the countless times I ﬂipped open a Bible, read a passage, and closed the book no diﬀerent from when I opened it, this time something reached out and grabbed me. I read that Scripture passage and I believed it. I began to believe that time was short. I believed that this world in its present form is passing away. Most important, I started looking at non-Christians as never before.
Now I don’t care about having the best lawn in the neighborhood. That isn’t even on my radar. Not even close. I don’t care that there’s a strange odor in my ten-year-old car that has a bazillion miles on it. I don’t care that people my age with similar educations take more elaborate vacations, dress in much nicer clothes, spend countless hours analyzing investment portfolios embarrassingly larger than mine, and spend hours at the gym trying to obtain ﬂawlessly trimmed midsections.
The reality is I couldn’t care less about any of this because I’ve been assaulted by the belief that good people—friends, family members, ﬁshing buddies, and T-ball coaches—kind, patriotic, spiritual, neighborly folks we picnic with and chat with are headed toward unrelenting torture in hell. The day I decided to believe this, my life (and my lawn) have never been the same.
I share this for one good reason: This is a stupid way to live your life. And it’s a horrible way to try to make an evangelistic diﬀerence in the lives of your non-Christian friends.
Don’t do what I did. Don’t do it.
It was a mistake.
Focusing all of my time and energy on leading a church to reach people far from God, and then throwing myself into personal evangelism to the exclusion of all other interests, was without question one of the biggest evangelistic blunders of my life.
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