One of my favorite pictures we took on a trip to Haiti was where one person was pretending to cut a board with a skill saw while another person held up the power cord with a confused look on her face. We took it to make people laugh, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that’s how many people live their lives. They have the right tools to be successful, but they lack the power to utilize those tools properly.
Part of what I do for a living, and also do here on this site, is to give people the tools they need to be successful. Power tools work best when they’re plugged in. Imagine how long it would take to cut a board using a skill saw that wasn’t plugged in. Think about the effort it would require and what that cut would look like if they had to do it manually with that saw. Even though we had the right tool, without the power to use the tool to its potential, we wouldn’t be very successful.
In Deuteronomy 8:18, Moses was speaking to the Children of Israel just before they went into the Promised Land. He was giving them final instructions to remember since he would not be crossing the Jordan river with them. He said, “Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful” (NLT). He was reminding them that they have the tools to be successful, but God is the source of power behind those tools. He wanted them to remember that their success wouldn’t be of their own power.
The same is true for us. While we hold the tools and do the work, it is God who gives us the power to be successful at whatever He calls us to put our hand to. Like a professional athlete who takes a knee after a touchdown or points to Heaven after a homerun, we need to take time to honor God for each success we have. It keeps us humble and it reminds us and others that God is our source. Apart from His power, we are trying to cut a board with an unplugged skill saw.