Blanks


Recently, I spoke to a friend of mine about her grandchildren. She was quite stymied that they knew very little about God.

I could relate to what she had said. For many years I had taught children in church. One of the most alarming things to me was that there are more and more youngsters who come to visit church and know extremely little about God. I am utterly amazed when I meet children who have never heard the stories of 'David and Goliath', or 'Daniel in the Lions Den'.

As I left this dear lady, I considered the Godless society we seem to be a part of these days. Our politically correct philosophy has now entered the spiritual sphere, and rather than say something to offend others, we as a society have come to the point where we say nothing at all to the youth of today.

All too often, they remind me more and more of a rock I used to find when I hunted for arrowheads. We called it a blank.

A 'blank' is a chunk of rock made of the same flint-like material as arrowheads and spearheads. The ones I've found usually ranged from about fist size to being as big as a bowling ball.

Years ago our Native Americans found large boulders of churt, (American flint). The boulders were too large to take with them so they would chink off large chunks with their stone hammers and carry hem off with them, until they had a chance to turn them into something useful. These chunks of rock are known as 'blanks'.

Many times the older hunter/warriors, or those too old and frail to hunt anymore did the spearhead and arrowhead making for the tribe. These experienced men could just look at a blank and visualize what they could make out of it. They of course started by making tomahawk heads and the larger spear points and eventually used the smaller fragments of churt to fashion arrowheads.

Occasionally they would run into a vein of some inferior substance passing through the rock. This crack caused them to have to change their original plans, but nevertheless, they just kept knapping (chipping) away at the blank, fashioning it into something useful.

As I look at one of the few blanks I've kept during my search for Native American artifacts, I am truly reminded of our children and our youth of today. Like the craftsman of yesteryear, we need to look deeper than what's on the surface. We need to see beneath the rough edges of the blank and visualize all the tools hiding deep beneath the surface.

We, the children's parents, grandparents, friends, relatives, and teachers need to allow the Lord to help us as we mold the children of today into what God would have them be tomorrow. Even with an eye of faith, we cannot visualize what will become of these dear ones. Like the artisans of old, our job is to just keep chipping.

As I mentioned earlier, when these tool makers of yesteryear came to an inferior substance, perhaps a crack in the rock that was filled with sandstone or metal, they had to make a decision. The craftsmen would carefully consider before casting away the blank what their course of action should be. These men knew that a crack in the material could fragment when the finished tool was being used later if they left the crack in the piece they were working with. And then too, it might even shatter while they were working the piece. So instead, they would work around the crack and leave it out of the end product.

Rather than dispense with the stone, the skilled artisan would continue chipping at the blank just to see what could be done with the rock anyway. The larger chips would be saved for use later as small arrow heads.

The toolmaker was patient. Perhaps he couldn't form the knife or the spear that he had in mind, but he might be able to craft a smaller spear, several arrowheads and a hide scraper instead as he worked around the imperfection. But he knew when he chinked off the blank from the boulder to which it had been attached that it had some worth. Otherwise, he wouldn't have carried it all the way back to camp. So he just kept working the piece.

As we look at the youth of today, let us each see the real worth hiding deep within. Our children are priceless. Each one of them has great worth. But we will never know that worth, if we don't seek to mold them each into what God would have them to be.

As we hold these dear ones in our Spiritual grasp, it's just like when the native craftsman of old held the blank in his hand. As he turned it from side to side, he could visualize what he would need to do to begin his work on the material. And so it is that when we look at the children and the youth of today that we also need to look at their needs; we need to look at their strengths and weaknesses. We need to help them capitalize on their talents and we need to help them get rid of the inferior substance of sin in their lives.

And as we do our part, as we work on these gems, from time to time we may notice limitations and weaknesses. Rather than cast these precious ones aside, may we help them to know that they are still of great worth. Not everyone can become a doctor, a lawyer, a movie star, a professional athlete. But everyone can follow God's leading and become one of the jewels that make up His kingdom.

As we train the hope of tomorrow by our kind example, may we realize that God and even we ourselves may run into a vein of some inferior substance (sin), running through the hearts of the youth, but may we also realize that with God's help, these children can receive forgiveness. And with His help they can still become useful in His Kingdom here and hereafter.

Let us pray for these dear ones that they will allow the Master Craftsman, God, to keep chipping away at their hearts so that they can become powerful weapons for truth in the hands of the Almighty.

Ron Reese RonnieRayReese@hotmail.com

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