When we hear a sermon that stimulates our minds, we owe praise to God, not the preacher. When we hear a new song that provokes our hearts to worship, we ought to praise God long before the songwriter. When we receive the benefit of another person’s gifting we ought to express gratitude to God, not the one who merely made use of what God had generously bestowed upon him. We praise God, not the tool.
I watched in fascination as the programmer wrote line after line of code, each word and each line forming part of an increasingly complex whole. His fingers were barely visible as they tapped out letter after letter and number after number. And then his work was done. With a smile and a flourish, he compiled the code and hit “play.” I marveled to see what he had created. And I thought “What a great keyboard! If only I had that same keyboard I could create a program as incredible as that!”
I gazed with rapt attention as the artist shaped his sculpture. With a shaping tool held deftly in his hand, he carved away large portions of the marble and then, as he progressed, carefully tapped out much smaller ones. Then he took his rasp and delicately smoothed and polished the surface. Bit by bit he worked at that block of marble until it began to reveal the wondrous figure that he had had the vision to know was hidden within. And I spoke it out loud: “I need that shaping tool! I need that rasp! Those tools are responsible for this sculpture. I need them for myself.”
I stared fixedly as the mechanic repaired the engine that had long since ceased to function. With wrench and ratchet and a number of tools I could not identify, he dismantled, then cleaned, then repaired, then reassembled. Finally, he sat in the driver’s seat, turned the key, and listened in satisfaction as the engine roared to life.