The Lawyer and The Nail

Most people at GCC do not know me nor do they know much about me. My wife is the one who gets all the attention and asks all the questions such as “And how does that make you feel?”. So let me just share one bit of information about myself. In 1972 I worked for the second largest law firm in the city of Philadelphia: Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis Cohen. We had 106 lawyers and we were located on the top 4 floors of the Packard Building at 16th and Arch St. We employed all types of lawyers: trial lawyers, tax lawyers, commercial lawyers and even lawyers who defended other lawyers.  You could say I was in the “Communications Department”.  It was a very stressful job with all the decisions I had to make each day that affected other people’s lives. Okay, you got me! I worked in the Mailroom, but I was proud of the work I did. Most of the time I was delivering mail from the lawyers to the clients, anywhere from New York to Washington D.C. to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Remember, this was before the internet, everything had to be hand delivered.

There was one request that I will never forget.  One of our lawyers called our office and asked if anyone could come up and give him a hand with a problem he had. I said I would be right up. When I arrived at his office he was standing there, looking at a picture on the floor.  He said, “Can you put that on the wall for me? I’ve never done that before, but I know you need a hammer and maybe a nail.” And before he could say anything more, I stopped him. “It’s okay Sir, I can handle this job. I know exactly what I need to do.” Before I could burst into laughter, I ran out of his office and got the tools I needed. The executive ended up very pleased with my work. No, I had not fixed the HVAC system or designed a new wing for the building, but I had helped someone do something which they were unable to do. Sometimes doing the little things brings the greatest reward.

God was able to do something for us which we were unable to do for ourselves. He saved us.  Paul says in I Corinthians 1:18, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Foolishness. What a great word to describe the gospel for anyone that isn’t a believer. Think about it, if someone told you that they could get reservations to the fanciest restaurant in town, for the same day you called, for the exact time you wanted, and that Gordon Ramsey would be your waiter, you would think, “What kind of fool are you?”. Who believes that?”. But wait, what if there was another element in the story. Let’s say there is a rich guy, who happens to own the restaurant, who has been watching your situation, and who happens to know Gordon Ramsey. Now, what would you say? You would say: “Thank you Lord!”

Coming to faith in Jesus Christ is the easiest thing in the world (because you do nothing) and it is the hardest thing in the world (because you do nothing). Most of us have this idea that there is something we can do to help our standing before God. Maybe just a little? Pastor Mike gave the perfect illustration of this a few weeks ago. He said it is like when you are in a restaurant with someone and the person with you says they are getting the check. The meal you just ate is being totally paid for by your friend. And then you, as most of us would do, say this: “Well, I’ll leave the tip”.  

You don’t leave a tip with God. Your bill, as well as your tip, has been fully paid. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He paid for the sins of the whole world. He provided the forgiveness each of us needs for ourselves. As foolish as that sounds, it is love and it was done by the power of God. And so, the next time someone is unable to hang their own picture, remember, Jesus Christ did for you, what you could not do for yourself.

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