Worn-Out Tools

"So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart." --Nehemiah 4:6

Read: Nehemiah 4

Like it was yesterday, I remember walking out of my English professor's office angry, upset and embarrassed. Gritting my teeth and holding back tears I marched, but I didn't get very far. "Excuse me, Mr. Peña!" And Coach Jim Loweree proceeded to alter my life. See, I had poured my heart into a project. Gave it everything I had. I stayed up late, studied early, went the extra mile. That's just what you did at the prestigious Cathedral High School in El Paso, Texas. It was the home of The Fighting Irish -- a place of faith, unparalleled scholastics, sport, and most of all, tradition. But alas, I bombed it. To make matters worse, Coach Loweree was a man I idolized. I wanted nothing more than to maintain a perfect GPA and impress him along the way. And in a matter of seconds, both goals were gone.

Speaking of goals, earlier that year, I successfully recited the famous poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling to Coach Loweree. I never missed a beat when it came to recitations. I loved that part of class. Speeches by President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others, all by heart, not one word missed. But a line from "If" has been rolling around my brain lately:

"Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, and stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools."

Worn-out tools. One week away from my one-year spinal surgery check-up, we're just praying that the new hardware is still a "go" with the bones and that the same success we saw with my neck replacement occurs in my lower back. God's will we pray. And then it's on to the next level my friends.

I wonder, have you ever had to rebuild anything? A business or a home? Perhaps another aspect of your life and maybe even your health. Well, rebuilding is a faith issue. Not in our ability to make things as they once were but for Whom we build. Because when things fall apart, when we watch the things we gave our life to break, He's why we stoop.

And remember how I mentioned that Coach changed my life? Well, he did. In the schoolyard that day, he told me that I was going to have to start all over. Yep, he stole a line from Kipling himself. But Coach also told me not to take grades so seriously, to keep working hard, keep honoring my parents and to stand up straight after a test if I did my best, regardless of the grade. Funny, I took his advice. I never made straight A's again. But after six book projects, 15 years of newsstand articles and my highest honor -- this website -- I hope Coach knows his freshman English class and that afternoon talk in the yard changed a kid. So thanks, Coach. I'm still stooping. Still rebuilding. My life's work is my faith and health. Perfect for worn-out tools like mine.

--Jimmy Peña

ATTENTION PASTORS: You lead, they'll follow. Church leaders across the country have worked with us to help them develop curriculum and small groups geared toward physical stewardship. If you're looking for a book that you can be sure eschews vanity while celebrating grace, then look no further. We were blessed to receive this endorsement from one of our nation's most celebrated pastors.

Practically everyone I know wants to lose weight and get more fit—myself included. This battle is as much spiritual as it is physical, and most exercise and diet specialists miss this, but not Jimmy Peña and his PrayFit Diet plan. Getting fit God’s way ensures you have the proper perspective on how and who God made you to be. When you have this foundation firmly in place, you will not be motivated to get fit to prove you are a somebody, but to express the somebody you are in Christ.

--Randy Frazee, author of Making Room for Life, The Heart of the Story and senior pastor at Oak Hills Church

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