Picture in your mind a garden plot that needs to be worked. Lots of weeds and grass, sticks that need to be pulled out, rocks that would be in the way of making nice rows. Under all this current mess is good soil- you have witnessed it first hand. Nice, dark, rich soil that will grow something beautiful and bountiful.
As you are pondering what might grow there someone walks up to you; someone you don't know. You give him the once over, looking up and down his strong frame. Nothing here too spectacular to report except his hands are weathered from lots of work. It looks like he knows his way around the garden seeing multiple patches on his knees and holes in the toes of his boots lead you to believe these are his favorite gardening clothes- if this indeed is the gardener.
You're small and frail compared to him and the garden spot you are imagining is quite far from where you are right now and so he asks you if you would like to ride in the wheelbarrow. As a kid, riding in the wheel barrow is a fun treat, until you get dumped over. That seems better than walking and you are interested to see what might be going in the garden- having no real intention of working hard enough to actually plant anything in that spot; there is too much work to do just to get in the vicinity of growing anything, but you will watch.
The wheel barrow is well worn and it has seen plenty of dirt and tools in its time. This is not a fancy model but it seems he is getting a lot done with it so in you hop, amongst all the gardening tools. The wheelbarrow is a bit crowded with all the rakes and hoes, shovel and picks, so you hang on to the side and enjoy the ride. It's a bit bumpy, but it is better to be bumping along and not walking than it is to be walking along and not bumping.
As you ride you are starting to imagine the produce that will come out of this dirt. Will there be lettuce, or tomatoes? Hopefully no broccoli or cauliflower. Beets would be good and some potatoes, green beans, snow peas. This is starting to get exciting. Who will have to be the weeder. You don't like weeding.
You finally roll up to the spot and you hop out. I wonder what he will do first. I wonder if he will ask you to help. You are kind of small and wimpy compared to him. Maybe He will just do it all and let you watch. All the tools are gone from the wheelbarrow and it is just you and he standing there. You look around and the other tools are actually working in the garden; they are actually living tools. The rake is Jenny, the shovel is Sam, the hoe is Jimmy, and wait, what kind of tool are you?
All these tools seemed little and wimpy in the wheelbarrow and now they are doing their tiny bit of work in the garden. As fast as each one is, it is going to be a long time before there is any produce, but they are getting a little work done. The gardener is giving strength to each one as they run out, he brings the water to make the soil softer, he keeps the sun behind the clouds so it is a little cooler, he is encouraging everyone and he is telling them exactly what to do next. All they seem to be doing is working on the tiny little space around them and not even looking at what others are doing. Will this really turn out right?
The time goes by so fast. You had forgotten to look at your watch, so you don't even know what time it was when you started working. This is hard work, but he is so kind to work for and he seems to know exactly what you need before you even have the need, that it doesn't even seem like real work. How can this be, you have been in the garden before and you know how hard it can be, but this time it is different.
You look around you and see that all the tools are at least as weak as you are; they don't seem to be experts at what they are doing; like you, they are certainly not the highest quality tools in the shed and yet this gardener is using each one and they are really making a difference.
At the end of the day the garden has been all plowed up, planted, weeded, watered, the sun has come and the plants have grown, the harvest is completed and you are looking at a feast prepared for you by the gardener, and what a feast it is. How did he get all this out of that one little garden spot using all those flimsy tools? You will probably never know the answer, but you loved being part of the process and the feast sure is amazing.
We are all tools for the Gardener to use. He has promised to give us strength, to provide for our needs, to sharpen us, to encourage us, and to keep using us until He is finished with us. If we are faithful to follow His instruction He will bring the increase. He also promised to allow us to partake in the feast. We can't boast of anything in this process except that He chose to use us.
May we be tools useful for the Master.