I Am Not a Tool

 

I spent the majority of this past weekend at a writing conference. It was my first, and I was somewhat apprehensive about attending. I’m fairly introverted by nature, and hanging out with people I had never met, but only knew through twitter/blogs seemed daunting, and a little weird.

But I went.

One of the keynote speakers for the weekend was a blogger and author named Sarah Bessey. Sarah wrote a beautifully disarming book called Jesus Feminist. If you haven’t read it, I would highly suggest picking up a copy. She is quiet, but profound. Shy, but bold. Introverted, but a prolific speaker. I found myself crying 4 times throughout the course of Sarah’s words. She was incredible.

During the closing session, Sarah asked the crowd’s permission to pray over us. Shockingly, none of us objected. And then Sarah said some of the most beautiful words I have ever heard spoken:

"Thank you God, that we are not tools to be used by you, but co-creators with you”

I came undone.

The theological implications of this concept run much deeper than I am qualified to explore, but I believe what Sarah said to be absolute truth.

I am not a tool. A tool is mindless. A tool has no desires, no passions, no wants, and no longings. A tool simply does what it is forced to do. It is tossed in a drawer, thrown around, dragged through the mud, and then put back away once the person using it is done.

The need for a tool suggests the inability of the tool-user to accomplish their task. A hammer is used to pound a nail because we are unable to use our bare hands. A screwdriver is used to turn a screw because we lack the dexterity for that task. A jack is used to lift a car because we are too weak to do so ourselves.

To suggest that we are tools to be used by God, I believe, maligns and cheapens the character of God, suggesting that God is impotent and unable to accomplish what he desires. I don’t love my screwdriver. I don’t love my power drill. I love my children. I love their art, their ramblings, their sentences that are verbose and overcomplicated. I love it when they are exactly who they are.

That old adage, “God doesn’t need us,” I believe, rings hollow. Does God need us? In a way, no. God is God, and God gets to be God. We don’t.

But does God limit himself to a degree that compels him to rely on us in some way?

Absolutely.

To suggest less relegates us to being tools. To simply being a means to an end.

You are not a tool. You are a co-creator with God.

I don’t believe God uses us. I believe he partners with us. God is relational, not dictatorial. I believe that in a very real sense, God needs us. God needs you. God needs you to create art. God needs you to write. God needs you to make beautiful films. God needs you to write plays, poetry, paint paintings, take pictures, and everything else that gives your soul hope.

Thank you Sarah. Thank you for speaking words to my heart that I needed to hear. Thank you for reminding me that I’m not a means to an end. I’m beloved. I’m enamoring to my creator. I’m captivating to his eyes. He is proud of me, and he is proud of what I create.

And he is proud of you as well.

You are his beloved.