From the Daily Devotional from The Purpuse Driven Life website.
“Can I Help?”
by John Fischer
I love to work with my hands. I get very excited about what I can do to a room with a few pieces of molding and a couple cans of fresh paint. My wife, Marti, is not quite as enthusiastic as I am about this, mainly because she doesn’t like clutter and the fact that this kind of work pulls me away when we would normally be having family time. I argue that it saves us money, but the real reason I do it is the satisfaction created by the transformation, and the realization: “Hey, I did that!”
Of course it takes me three times longer than a professional and even longer when you factor in the few hours here and there that I have to put into projects like this. To make matters worse, I’m a perfectionist, so I have craftsman tastes driving my amateur abilities. I measure twice, cut slow, and do things over if I have to.
I also have a huge sense of ownership over work like this — I don’t like to share it with anyone. As a result, I’m not a very good teacher. My two older children don’t know much about projects around the house because I did them all myself and didn’t let them help me even if they wanted to.
Which leads me to mentioning a project that has now taken up two weekends, severely challenged Marti’s patience, and tested my own with our five-year-old, Chandler. Every time I’m working when he is around (which is most of my available time), he asks me if he can help. I’m old enough now to see that I haven’t handled this well in the past, but knowing I have an opportunity to change that doesn’t make it any easier.
I’m realizing that an important part of serving people is allowing them to serve you. This is sometimes hard because it may mean you have to teach them to do what you know you could do better on your own, but their growth is going to depend on the opportunities you give them.
In many ways, I would prefer to work alone on these projects but I have to remember, “What am I here for — to remodel a room or teach my son how to use a hammer?”
When I die, which is he going to remember most, nice clean angles on the molding in this room or the experience of sawing through wood as I hold it for him?
The quality of a life of purpose is measured not by the number of tasks accomplished, but with who were they were accomplished and the learning that went on in the process.