Good Gifts

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

Scott was owner and sole proprietor of Scott’s A/C in Coolidge Arizona. He was preoccupied, gruff, smelled of cigarette smoke, and seldom paused to look you in the eye. Scott owned a crane to lift roof-mounted air conditioning units into place. I needed to lift a 375lbs air conditioner onto a roof. While the going rate of $150 for crane service did not break the bank, I hoped Scott would lift my equipment at the discounted price of $100, or maybe even $75. After all, my project was mere blocks from his business. I used my best attempt at persuasion, pointing out the closeness of the project, the ease of access, and the single-story simplicity. Scott refused to do my lift for any price, citing the cost of liability insurance and the risk of accidents. As a last ditch effort in persuasion, I suggested he allow me to borrow his crane, so he wouldn’t need to worry about liability. This idea got his attention; he glanced away from his work and looked me in the eye just long enough to simply refer me to Wilson Crane Service, saying they would treat me well.

Ten months later, I hoped Scott would bend my flat sheet metal into a custom flashing. In the past, he had done this for an unbeatable price. This time, instead, he exclaimed, “There’s the brake!”

A sheet metal brake is a hand tool which could almost be called a machine. Scott’s break stands about four feet tall, ten feet wide, and looks to weigh a little over 2,000lbs. Yet this shop tool is operated by hand. Leverage and counter weight allows the force of an average bicep to smoothly and precisely bend metal up to eight feet long. For the first time, I was holding my metal and looking a real shop brake in the face. The brake seemed to sprout control rods, counter weights and levers like a porcupine. With care, I figured out how use the brake and make my flashing. While it took more than twice the time that Scott would have taken, I left that day with not just the flashing but with the satisfaction of learning myself to use the tool.

image: crane accidentSatisfaction turned to consideration as I realized God often responds as Scott did. While our request may get God’s attention, he might simply tell us to go do something else. Perhaps he’s simply protecting us from a mistake like this. He’ll remember your desire, and later on, he’ll give you a less risky but equally satisfying assignment.

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11)

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