KEEPING THE FAITH: Some assembly required

Published: Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 12:13 PM.

Do you know the three most frightening words in the English language? “Some assembly required.” You order something online, a toy or a bicycle for your children. Or you go to a big box store to get a grill or piece of patio furniture.

When UPS brings it to your door or you find the item you’re looking for in the store, it’s not ready to go like you saw in the online catalog or the advertisement in Sunday’s paper. “Some assembly required,” the tag on the box says.

So, you lug this box the size of a queen-sized mattress out to the garage and open it. There are buckets of screws, connectors, rods and unidentifiable small pieces of plastic that you will never use no matter what the directions say. And for the next six weeks you attempt to put this thing together.

The worst case for me was construction of the dreaded children’s play set. When I was growing up our swing sets were just tubes of lightweight aluminum. If you were swinging too high the front side of the entire swing set would rise off the ground a solid foot. Now, we have these play sets made of concrete-anchored-treated-timbers, and screws the length of baseball bats. Assembly requires a civil engineer and a degree from MIT.

When I bought one of these behemoths for my children I was in the back yard with a slide rule and a skill saw for the entire summer. And I lost all credibility with my neighbors. There was no way they were going to that pastor’s church, not with the raging four-letter obscenities flying out of my mouth. When we moved, to my children’s chagrin, I left the play set there; not so much as a gift to the family that bought our house. No way was I going to disassemble it and attempt to put it back together. Once was more than enough.

Some assembly required: This is true of the products you buy, your relationships, the children you are raising, and the person you are becoming. We are all works in progress, even as this relates to our faith. The Apostle Paul said: “Continue to work out your salvation.” We have been given this wonderful gift of grace, salvation and grace.

We have come to understand God’s love and have answered a call to a life of faith. This gift is like getting a bicycle in a box or a swing set bound by straps and smothered in Styrofoam peanuts. It’s like possessing a new piece of patio furniture but it’s in a dozen pieces, the materials scattered across the yard.



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