For the last six years, I’ve been a man in transition. Having made my way through two schools, six residences, and numerous jobs, I have most assuredly enjoyed the excitement of new tasks, new scenes, and new relationships. Change can be fun, and new challenges always keep life interesting.
However, I’m a builder at heart, and the constant moves have made it difficult to gradually expand upon a continuous theme. I’m the type of guy that wants to live in the same house for twenty years, so I can gradually turn it into something I’m incredibly proud of and thrilled to live in. I want to begin building a life, so to speak, but it’s hard to do that in transition.
This last Christmas, my dad gave me a tool box, complete with a full set of need-to-own tools, that he had been gradually accumulating from various estate sales over the last 9 months. It was possibly the most profound gift I’ve ever received.
One of single biggest frustrations over the last few years has been my lack of proper tools for motorcycle, car, and around-the-house repairs. Given the cost of tools and the finances of a student (saving up for a wedding), I had anticipated it would be years before I was able to gradually accumulate everything I needed. With marriage on the horizon, the desire to be a competent husband was thrust squarely into that equation. I knew I needed to find the money to buy a few basic tools, but again, I anticipated it being years before I could accumulate everything I needed.
But then, in one moment, I was given what would have taken years to acquire. Instead of starting at ground zero, as my father had, I was instantly given the things I needed. Instead twenty years worth of projects teaching me what is required in a home tool set, my father imparted that knowledge to me in the form of an already assembled collection, representing a lifetime of experience.
While a simple tool set may seem rather insignificant, this is such a beautiful picture of inheritance. Inheritance allows us to build from a foundation we haven’t earned. Inheritance allows me to benefit from the joys, sufferings, victories, and defeats of those who have gone before me. If I reject inheritance, I force myself to start from ground-zero, and I forfeit the wealth of understanding and wisdom accumulated by lifetimes of learning.
In a culture that emphasizes youth and independence, we can so easily forfeit our inheritance. The eldest among have so much to impart and teach us, if we would only honor and receive. Let’s not be a generation that starts from ground-zero. Even if your biological mothers and fathers are not available, there are spiritual mothers and fathers all over, just bursting at the seams with wisdom and impartation. Let’s be a generation that receives our inheritance and builds upon the victories of those who have labored and fought before us.
What an awesome gift. Tools are very expensive, and it’s usually a matter of building up your set which tends to take a lifetime. I still remember when I first moved out and have a project that required a hand saw, and I realized I somehow lacked a simple saw. Oh what we take for granted when we’re living at home and you can dig around in your dads tool set.
I also think that’s it’s these kind of gifts that really mean the most as well. Earlier this year in fact I was back home and went fishing with my dad. I brought my reel and he let me borrow a rod. After a great trip and landing the largest catfish I’ve even gotten, he informed me it was my grandpa’s rod, and he wanted me to have it. That gift really meant a lot to me.
Well said. I didn’t realize how often I used tools until my dad’s set wasn’t around to choose from. It really makes you appreciate all those little “necessities” you take for granted. I think these type of gifts – tool set, fishing rod – mean so much, because they involve something of an impartation of manhood from one generation to the next. Priceless.
Great post, Jacob. I was thinking & writing about this just today – about a ‘last will’, except for the intangible.
Keep up the website mate, it’s fantastic.
Thanks for the feedback Pete! It is much appreciated.
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