Life’s Lessons


What are you supposed to be doing?

My nephew has very recently been hired as an entry-level fireman. He has been working toward this for a number of years. First came EMT training; then, paramedic. The paramedic is particularly difficult and I am extremely proud of him.

He has diligently pursued his dream getting in the necessary training and volunteering as a firefighter/paramedic while holding a full-time job in an unrelated field. Now, he has been hired and can relax a bit, right? Not so! There is more training ahead. Firefighting is a very challenging profession but he is up for the challenges still ahead of him.

All sorts of skills are needed in every profession. We just don’t stop to think about that, do we? When I worked in the coal mines in Kentucky, occasionally a large slab of rock would fall from the top and disable the power miner. That slab would basically shut down the unit until it was removed.

The miner was backed out of the working site to a place where it was safe to be on it, and the operators would get right to work striking that heavy, thick slab of rock with their sledge hammer, breaking it into manageable pieces. This idled the rest of us, who watched or offered to take a turn with the sledge hammer. (I admit to never taking a turn with the sledge.)

Benny, another man on our crew, always wanted to help, so he took his turn with the sledge hammer. He was small in stature but made up for it with pure strength and his willingness to stay with the task. He would hammer away at that rock endlessly with little or no results. Eventually, one of the miner operators would get the sledge back.

What Benny had been unable to chip, the miner operator would soon have broken up enough to move. Why? He studied the rock before expending such significant energy. Rock has strata and seams. He would determine where to strike and would soon have the equipment free of rock and back in service.

Was he gifted in that area? Or did he just use his common sense? Oh, and please note, he never belittled Benny or anyone else for not being able to complete the task.

So it is with living our witness for Jesus Christ. Some are gifted in that area, I believe, while the rest of us just use common sense and try to live a life that speaks of the goodness and love of Jesus.

Back to the mines – I was a roof bolter. After the coal is out, the roof of the mine is bolted to the rock above it to ensure safety when the next workers enter that newly-uncovered area. I was careful, and was good at my job, but one day there was a spot that baffled me as to securing the area safely. My working buddy signaled me to wait.

He bolted his side, then came over and did mine. He was more experienced and felt he could do it in a safer manner than I could. To him, it was a little thing; to me, it was a life-saving task because I didn’t know how to accomplish the job without endangering myself.

I hope my life spoke to him of Jesus so, in essence, I returned the favor, offering him eternal life by living a testimony daily before him.

What are you doing for Jesus? Some are called to a witness that requires special skills and training; for others, it’s just common sense.

What are you supposed to be doing?