As Christmas approached, my children and I spent much of our time gathered around the sewing machine. I know that hand sewing was done for thousands of years before the handy, electric sewing machine came into being, but I am very thankful that I live in a day and age when we can gather around a machine instead of painstakingly creating every stitch by hand.
Sewing always contributes heavily to our gift-giving, but this year was different. Not only did my beautiful Bernina sew like a dream, I also discovered many other useful tools over the course of the year that helped tremendously.
A 12-inch square cutting ruler with slots in it allowed me to use my rotary cutting tool to cut straight lines.
I cut strips with that cutting ruler that I was then able to turn into bias tape with a simple tool that folded the strips evenly for me to press.
A foot for my sewing machine automatically folded and stitched narrow hems in one fell swoop, allowing us to hem doll clothes with amazing ease.
A new-to-me sewing table gave me much more room to spread out.
A grommet tool made bag-making much easier than trying to sew straps in to certain made-up patterns.
These tools and others are not essential for sewing. Everything my children and I made for Christmas could have been made with just the sewing machine. Yes, it could even have all been made my hand. The look might have been a bit different, but the end result would have been possible. More tedious, but possible.
I often think of the Bible the same way as I view my sewing machine. It takes care of all of the essentials, but other tools make the job so much easier! On the one hand, I stop and realize that God’s Word alone can accomplish much more than the basic tool that my sewing machine represents. Please know that I have no desire to diminish the prominence of the Bible by such a comparison. On the other hand, however, it is a thought worth pursuing. God has gifted so many men and women with the incredible ability to help me better understand and apply His Word. He created us to interact, to function together as a body. Each resource created by others in the body help me function better in my service to hem, just as a customized sewing machine foot can transform my stitches from average to beautiful.
Ultimately, though, no tools are useful without the main equipment. A cutting tool, bias tape maker, machine foot, sewing table, or grommet tool does me little good if the sewing machine does not function. I can do without all of those things, but I cannot sew well without the machine.
The resources God has laid before me to help me understand Scripture do me no good if I do not ground myself in Scripture itself. That is the main equipment. It is the primary resource. I can successfully serve my Savior armed only with His Word. I cannot even begin to do so armed with everything but His Word!
May we greatly benefit from all the new tools and resources we discover through the course of this new year, but may we never lose sight of the only essential: the Bible, illuminated by none other than the Holy Spirit Himself.