“A Swiss Army Knife Life”

Psalm 119:130 KJV The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

I remember the first time I ever saw one; it was a sight to behold. My brother Johnnie brought it home from his Air Force basic training in 1955. I knew it must be one of a kind and my big brother was the owner of this fine mechanical marvel. It was red with chrome trim and some sort of funny emblem on the handle. I had never seen a knife as wide as this one and I soon found out the reason—this knife had more blades than Carter had little liver pills. The utterly amazing thing was that none of the blades were the same—every one had a different look and function. The first one that caught my eye was a little pair of scissors, a little pair of scissors in a knife, how stupendous. There were screwdrivers, can openers, bottle openers and even a pair of pliers. There was a file, a saw, an eyelet hook, corkscrew and two different size blades. I was overwhelmed by the next feature from the red menagerie—Johnnie slid a strange shaped little object from the end of the handle. What was it, what did it do, tell me, tell me, tell me, please—a toothpick, why in the world would anyone ever need that? That’s stupid!

My big brother handed me the knife and said, “Hal’ this is a special Swiss Army knife, I brought it home for you buddy, it’s yours. I know it will come in handy, and as the years go by you’ll have the opportunity to use every blade and tool in it.” Wow, what a weapon; fearfully I imagined the horror of America fighting the Swiss Army as long as they had military technology such as this.

From that day on, I stood ready, just in case someone asked, “does anyone have a corkscrew handy?” I could come to the rescue by ripping out my Swiss Army knife with confidence, knowing that it could accomplish every challenge. It turned out that very few people actually needed a saw blade or eyelet hook from a Swiss Army knife. However, I did finally wear out the large blade by always cutting stuff, as little boys are prone to do.

There came a time in my life when I put the knife away, nevertheless, the life-lessons learned from that gadget stayed with me. Sometimes our lives are very much like Swiss Army Knives. We educate ourselves and obtain all the Swiss Army bells and whistles to raise our self-esteem or to impress someone else. However, many of the blades of our lives are nothing more than paper degrees hanging on our walls or trivial trophies gathering dust in a corner case. There are numerous tools and blades of our life that we esteem very highly, but in reality are almost useless. Should our driver’s license ever be more important than our marriage license?

Should our Doctorate in whatever, ever be elevated above our love for whomever?

The important tools in our real-life knives are the ones we are called upon to use on a daily basis. They are the uncomplicated blades such as saying, “please and thank you or yes sir and yes ma’am.” We should wear out the vital blades of grace, mercy and love each day and pray that God will continually replace them. We should earnestly seek to use our Swiss Army knife Bible openers to open our hearts and feast on God’s Word. In addition, we must take our spiritual scissors and cut away any action that is not compelled by compassion.

If we would just use the simple, God given, common sense tools of our lives and stop waiting for complicated tasks to demonstrate our Swiss Army knife life abilities; we just might get more accomplished for God’s kingdom.

By the way, I used that stupid toothpick more than anything else in that red handled case.

  Pastor Hal Steenson


2 thoughts on ““A Swiss Army Knife Life”

  1. Hi Hal,

    I love your stories. You have the gift of making life comparisons that tell very well life’s lessons. We can all learn from this. Well done my friend.
    Your friend,

  2. Interesting and informative, and I just loved the climatic ending. :I just laughed and laughed. D
    Norma Wellman

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