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September 2021

Living Lessons


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YARD SALE - Grate Guy’s Stuff Cheep!

The large, hand painted sign caught my eye as I whizzed down the highway toward home one blazing summer afternoon. What yard sale buff in his right mind could pass up a fantastic offering like that? Not this guy.

After a quick glance in the mirror, I made a sharp U-turn toward the promised sale. I pulled up at an unpainted farmhouse. Boxes and crates of all shapes and sizes lined the drive, along with farm tools, pots and plates, and worn and broken furniture.

A sleepy group slouched in the shade of a sprawling oak, and as I opened my car door, the fragrance of sweet pipe tobacco settled gently on my senses.

“Gotcha some good stuff here,” one of the shadowy figures called lazily in my direction. “And I need it gone.”

With a friendly wave, I turned my attention to the “grate guy’s stuff.” To my surprise, the boxes and crates indeed held a nice collection of vintage high-quality tools—everything from mallets, planers, and rasps to ratchets, bits, and wrenches. The hodgepodge reminded me of my grandfather’s shed.

Since the shade sitters didn’t appear to have much business, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to wrangle a bargain. “How much for all the tools?”

“Aww, I don’t know,” replied the voice from the shade. “How about 30 bucks?”

My heart leaped. What a fantastic deal! But the experienced “picker” in me replied casually, “How about $25?”

Crates soon filled every nook and cranny of my tiny sedan, even with the back seats down and the passenger side filled. An hour later, at a family cookout, I proudly popped open my hatchback to show off the “new” tools to my dad and father-in-law. They responded like kids in a candy store, incredulous over the great deal, happily poking through the piles of worn tools to point out the ones they owned themselves. In moments, we were swapping stories about our favorite tools and the best way to use them.

In years to come, I’m sure that conversation at the back of my car will become a treasured memory. If I had paid $100 for the tools, those moments would have been worth every penny.
Tools are important. I’m thankful for my dad and other (extraordinarily) patient men who taught me to use them well, from refinishing furniture or repairing a toilet to changing the oil.

Good tools are also crucial for life, especially our faith. Deuteronomy 6 makes it clear parents are to equip their children with tools to build a strong and growing faith. This requires more than an hour or two on Sundays. It must be part of everyday life—every waking moment. I pray those important conversations about the faith will someday become treasured memories—not only for us but for our children and their children as well.

Today, I am thankful for my parents and many other patient influences who equipped me to build a living faith. Tools…for life.

About the Columnist: Eric K. Thomsen has been managing editor of ONE Magazine since the publication began in 2005. The former art and marketing director for Randall House Publications, he has served as president of the Evangelical Press Association and is a member of the Free Will Baptist Historical Commission. Eric and his wife Jennifer attend Bethel Free Will Baptist Church near Ashland City, Tennessee, where he serves as music director.


©2021 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists