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Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The Lord's Pocket Knife
I spoke about pocket knives on another blog, with the emphasis on how helpful or how dangerous they can be -- depending on the care with which they are used. Here is a little different thought about my desire to be "The Lord's Pocket Knife".
Around November or December of 1988 Frances and I had made the decision to follow the Lord’s call and move from the Cedar Hill Church where we had served as pastor for 7 years and go to Kenya, East Africa as missionaries. When her brother (Frank) learned of this decision he found it difficult to accept. He came to me and said, “What do you mean taking my sister 10,000 miles from home? Don’t you remember that she got sick on the mission field before? Besides that.....what do you think you can do in Kenya?” I was stunned. I had no answer, except to say something like, “I don’t know Frank. Just teach and preach and love the people there about Jesus in the same way I preach and teach here at home. That's all I can think of.”
Let me explain that later God spoke to Frank to assure him that it was o.k. and he sent us a Bill Gaither Video entitled “Dream On”. But at first...at first, he just could not understand why anyone would make such a radical change in life at our ages.
Several weeks later while Frances and I were itinerating in Texas we passed through the town where her first cousin who was a Baptist preacher lived. During our visit with Quinton and his wife Marie, I told him how upset Frank seemed to be and how I had no answer. He responded, “Fred, you know what it is, don’t you?” “No, I really don’t!” I said. Frank is right. I don’t have any out of the ordinary skills to offer. I really don’t know how to explain why.”
"Why, Fred," he said quietly, "It’s because you are the Lord’s pocket knife." While I was thinking on that, he asked, "Do you have a pocket knife?”
“Well, yes.” I said.
“Let me see it.”
When I pulled it out, he opened the main blade and the point was broken.
"How’d you break the point on this blade?"
"Best I remember - it was when I used it as a pry-bar." I responded.
"Didn’t you have a pry-bar?" Quinton asked.
"Yes." I mused.
"Why didn’t you use it?"
"Well, Because it was locked up in my tool box in the trunk of my car and my pocket knife was in my pocket. It was handy!"
"That’s just it, Fred. You are the Lord’s pocket knife because you were available. You were in His pocket where he could get his hand on you! Yes, there are others who have better gifts and skills than you, but they are over here somewhere locked up in a box." He emphasized, "It may be a pretty box with a steeple on it where all the newer tools are safely locked up. But you are in the Lord’s pocket where he can get his hand on you and use you!"
Since then, I’ve often prayed, “Lord keep me in your pocket! Use me for whatever purpose you desire. Even if I am handicapped somewhat, or am not as polished or refined as I would like to be, just let me be close enough to you that you can always get your hands on me and use me!"
- Fred Alton
- Cleveland, TN, United States
- I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.