Not sure why I feel this - "work with your hands"

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by ValleyofVision, Feb 8, 2018.

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  1. ValleyofVision

    ValleyofVision Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm not exactly sure why I feel this, but I have since my early twenties.

    "and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you" 1 Thess 4:11

    Alright so this verse. This one verse hits me like a ton of bricks. I'm not sure if it's because I am a man, but the part where it says "and to work with your hands" convicts me. I work as a sales representative (which in no way am I saying this is a bad thing) It's just, I do not work with my hands... at all. I sell things. That's my job, which is nice and all, but I sometimes get envious of men who do labor and build and feel like they accomplished something with their own hands.

    I can do basic things. Like hang a t.v., hang curtains, hang a picture... but when my wife wants something built that she see's on the internet... I'm clueless, and I despise it.

    I don't know, just rambling out my thoughts, wondering if anyone has felt this way.
  2. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    Sometimes I can feel that way. Have you thought about trying to learn some of those skills if you desire to? I think there is more to say about that verse to properly apply it, but I will leave that to others.
  3. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    Paul probably just means keep busy.
  4. ValleyofVision

    ValleyofVision Puritan Board Freshman

    True, I’m sure it does apply in a different way that I’m meaning.

    I feel like I desire to learn a trade but, I honestly just don’t have anytime. I’d love to do carpentry, but I’d bring starting from square one. I mean there are some guys that I’ve talked to who started 30-40 years ago.

    I have been watching some videos on YouTube for small tutorials but I think it really just comes down to admiring someone who does this type of work.
  5. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    Genesis 3:19
    19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
    In the agrarian society working with hands with sweat on the brow was probably the rule rather than the exception. I did structural steel erection for 20 years and then, due to injuries sustained doing the ironwork, I got a sedentary job for the following 25 years. Working for the bread is hard one way or the other in my experience. To be honest I didn't miss the ironwork after 20 years of it.
  6. E.R. CROSS

    E.R. CROSS Puritan Board Freshman

    I can empathize with your feelings, brother. My only advice is to pray about it. The Lord will place us where he wants us.
  7. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    One thing I would definitely encourage you with, is to always know your identity in our Lord. We have no need to covet anyone else's skills and gifts.

    I'm an activity director at my job, and our previous maintenance director used to try to make me feel unmasculine because I wasn't out working on air conditioners. Rather, my gifting is in another area, and that is how I serve God and bless His people. Being masculine is much more than physical strength and ability to do what we call manly trades.

    Yes, it is good to know as many skills as we can in this life, but if you are providing for your family and church in general, I think you are fulfilling this verse. If this verse were speaking of such trades only, then pastors would be in sin, for their work deals with the Word and prayer.

    Count your work as a blessing, and be thankful that you can do even the more simpler physical work you spoke of. If all men only worked with sweat and physical strength, our world would be much less blessed than it is.
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  8. Wayne

    Wayne Tempus faciendi, Domine.

    Most men do have an innate inclination to create with their hands. If your direction is toward woodworking, start watching Paul Sellers video clips on YouTube, join the Unplugged Woodworkers forum on Facebook, and learn a good while before buying any tools. Invest wisely in those tools, start slow, and get down to making stuff.
  9. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Senior

    When we lived in suburban Philly years ago, the local night schools ran courses teaching basic skills for dummies. Very basic wiring (like lamps), how to fix a leaky faucet, and a whole list of other handyman jobs. Might have been 10-12 nights once a week for the one I almost took.

    They had another one that was auto repair for total and complete dummies and I took it (back in the days when cars were less complicated). Those courses are great. The teachers assume nothing and make it simple and understandable and it is all hands on.

    A quick google for VA shows at least ten schools with different classes:
    They look like one subject for several classes, as opposed to a different thing each class, but it gives you ideas.

    I don't know where you are, but maybe you would enjoy something local like this. One guy we know learned how to drywall and he does it part time now on some evenings and Saturdays to pick up extra money.

    My son on a whim took a cooking class at night school. He loved it and took several. His wife loves his skills in that area. I can't remember him cooking a single thing before that class and now he is quite the chef.

    If you stay in your school district usually night schools are cheap. Another fun skill is learning ASL (deaf sign language) and you can try and talk to deaf people. I did one class of that and then one college class and it is enough to stumble along when I meet a deaf person ( they appreciate the effort even if we are severely limited.)

    Given the potential for harder times ahead, if you have land I would learn basic gardening. Just maybe 400 sq feet can give you a year of vegetables plus potatoes if you do some double cropping ( early harvest followed by another). There must be garden clubs with classes for beginners near you. Once you learn it is a wonderful and productive hobby.
  10. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    I had to laugh reading through the thread since I play piano and teach piano for a living. I certainly use my hands, but have very little to physically show for it at the end of the day.

    Assuming that my line of work isn't what you have in mind, I've also acquired some handy skills. As a senior in college, I bought a house that was very much in shambles. Since I didn't have the money to hire people to fix it up, I had to learn just about everything myself, from jacking up the house to electrical, drywall, etc. Last summer I took out the back wall of my house and enclosed the back porch. My vehicle situation was similar and most car issues I can fix now. I've also found some of my limitations. Plaster. Never again will I try to plaster! :) Automatic transmissions are over my head, though I've successfully rebuilt a manual transmission.

    The point is, start fixing the things that come up in daily life which should help you build on your skill set and acquire the necessary confidence to tackle new obstacles. Finding something online that you can't fathom making may not be the best place to start since you need to become comfortable with the basics. I have good friends with a variety of skills that I can ask for their expertise. And use YouTube, not just for cat videos! :)
  11. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

  12. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    Pastors don't use their hands. (Except those who evangelize the hearing impaired community...)
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
  13. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Freshman

    Those guys that started 30-40 years ago still started: there was a time when they'd never held a tape measure. I began building boats as a hobby almost two decades ago, never thinking my living would depend on it. It was fun, and it didn't matter if I made mistakes, since no one was paying for the work. Now, much of my living comes from that type of work, although I'm not nearly as skilled as those who began 30-40 years ago.
    But if cutting up bits of wood and gluing them together appeals to you, why not give it a try, knowing that you'll probably never be as good as the YouTube guys, but that you'll have fun anyway?
    PS I rarely watch YouTube videos....they make me feel like I'll never be good enough.
  14. ValleyofVision

    ValleyofVision Puritan Board Freshman

    Such great responses on here. Glad to have this community of brothers (and sisters) that gives advice and wisdom so freely.

    Thank you Ben Zartman for saying "those guys who started 30-40 years ago still started".. that's true and something that I tend to forget. They once were like me .

    Maybe I'm going through a (long) spurt of just feeling like a slug. I've never been one with muscles either. Do any of you take time for yourself at the gym or at home workout?
  15. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Senior

    Here's my abbreviated appreciation speech for salesmen.

    "Nothing happens until someone sells something" - Unknown

    Every hands-on, 'manly' job that involves tools, ingredients, labor and so forth that were at sometime sold.

    About your remarks on labor, I've heard similar things from other men over the years. The sense of accomplishment some feel after creating something physical is part of our make up. I helped on the family farm in my youth but don't miss the heat, dirt, bugs and all of that. It's now mostly sentimental for me. What I think about these days was the time working with Dad and Granddad. We lost Granddad over 20 years ago. Now I would just like to be independently wealthy with a little acreage in the country but free to pay others to do the work. :) If that were my actually situation it would be hard for me to mow and weed when a private archery/gun range or observatory were a few steps a way.

    I think the suggestions by men above are helpful about doing something with your hands as hobby for now. That way there is far less risk and still is the possibility remains it could lead to an occupation or helpful side hustle.
  16. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    I might add that video games are done with the hands... :p
    I do advanced calisthenics home rather than go to a gym.
  17. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Actually, I'm not sure I agree with this. If a pastor is reading, he is holding the book with his hands. If he is typing, he is using his hands. If he is preaching, he is (usually) using his hands in gestures. If he goes to visit someone, he uses his hands on the steering wheel. Sure, it's not building a house, and maybe that's all you meant. But I'm not sure any white-collar job is done without hands. I don't think Paul is talking about the whole white-collar/blue collar distinction at all. Of course, blue-collar workers have to use their brains, too, so it is quite possible that the entire distinction is over-rated.
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  18. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior


    As others have noted, Paul's expression here is a vivid way of enjoining wholesome, productive labor (referring to the kind of labor most prevalent in a pre-industrial world).

    If you have a desire to build something or the like, don't attribute this to the command of Paul here. You are under no obligation to do such, i.e., to work with your hands in a particular sort of way (you must be clear on this), and should do so only because you want to, because this brings joy to you and glory to God, as part of realizing our chief end (WSC 1)

    Don't think that you cannot do so in your present employment, unless it becomes clear that you are otherwise gifted and are not living in accordance with who God made you to be. It is a great joy to come to a place of recognition that you are doing what God created you for, whether that involves making things or not: Paul is clearly indifferent to what you do--I Cor. 7--calling us all to do whatever we do to His glory--I Cor. 10:31.

    So you should do what you do that is most in keeping with your gifts (as much as that is possible) and also endeavor to eat right, get exercise, etc., to take care of yourself physically (even as you do spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, etc.). As for "muscles," toning with weights and the like is appropriate, but none of this must be done--building things, including your body--so that you may simply look good and feel good about yourself, as you gauge this, either according to misapprehended Biblical standards or worldly standards (for whom body image is paramount).

    Why are you wanting to do these things? One always should ask oneself this. For health, for a sense of accomplishment, and the like? Nothing wrong with that, but if you are looking for your self-worth or some sort of other affirmation in your ability to build things or have "muscles" (both of which you now lament lacking), then it's time to get straight who you are in Christ and to live that to the fullest. Be a good salesman (or something else) but don't pretend as if the Bible says that you must do a certain kind of work for fulfillment (it just doesn't) or that you should look a certain way for maximal happiness (it certainly doesn't say this).

    I want you to be free: free to serve the Lord in terms of who you are and not thinking that you need to be, or able to do, something else for acceptance and joy. It is no small part of our maturity to come to terms with who He made us to be (especially regarding the gifts that He gave and didn't give us) and learning to be grateful and to serve Him in that with all of our being.

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  19. Cedarbay

    Cedarbay Puritan Board Freshman

    Josh, we would love to have you as a neighbor as my husband would mentor you in a heart beat. I would welcome the help as well, as I sometimes cringe when I hear the words, "Honey, have you got a minute...".
  20. koenig

    koenig Puritan Board Freshman

    Zenas (the lawyer in Titus 3:13) and Lydia (a seller of purple goods in Acts 16:14) are mentioned positively and not directed to have more physical jobs. The church has doctors, government officials, and possibly even tax collectors, and not for a second is any such person admonished to take a different line of work (except that tax collectors are only permitted to take their required amount, not extort the people for their personal gain as was the typical practice).

    Don't read this one verse in isolation, but read on to the next verse for the real goal of this command: "so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one". You're not idle or engaged in unjust work, you're not a gambler, and you provide for your own needs. That's all this requires of you.
  21. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    I think that the Lord would have us to be grateful for the gifts that He has seen fit to give us and to use those to the fullest for the greatest good of others and the glory of God. The skill to build things with your own hands, and the sense of accomplishment that accompanies such, would certainly be a gift that one could put to use for other's good and God's glory.

    But so can what you do as a salesman, and you need to think more about how this is so, assuming that the business of which you are a part makes a good product and conducts itself honorably. If it doesn't, that's a different subject and thread from this one.

    Having said that, I cannot imagine anything being more rewarding than that to which the Lord has called me. I am not worthy to be a child of God, much less to be called into the pastorate and to train other men thus called. Forgive me, but I wouldn't trade five minutes of such for the most skillful work imaginable with the hands (which is not that of the quotidian builder but of an artist like Michelangelo, or a pianist like Tim Frost :)).

    I am sure that there are many who are happy with what they do in the serving professions (teachers, doctors, nurses, even lawyers, like Edward ;)) and wouldn't trade that as well for the kind of "working with the hands" that the OP seems to have in mind.

    It's all good when you see what you do in your vocation (and avocations) as serving, not with eye-service as men-pleasers, but as serving Him who is your gracious Lord.

  22. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Me too. I get tremendous satisfaction (and exhaustion) from my profession as a lawyer.

    Part of my "therapy" after a hard stretch of cases is to build things. Just this afternoon I was welding longerons on a fuselage of a bush airplane I'm building.

    A year ago I finished my fifth wooden boat--my wife and I have been out on it fishing almost every week since then.

    Numerous years ago I built a Newtonian telescope, hand grinding the optics.

    And we've built or remodeled 6 houses over the years.

    I didn't start out with skills necessary to do any of these things. Each project started with me opening a book. Then another. And many more. For each category of tools, I estimate I spent some 30 plus hours reading about how to use them. Like Ben Z, I don't like to watch videos unless I can't find reading material on the subject. Videos take too much time.

    Spare time is plentiful in small installments set aside after reading Scripture, doing paying work, spending time with family, fellowship at church, etc. Start small and stay focused. I find it relaxing and fun to build things , and skills learned can be transferred to other tasks.

    BTW, I once tried to be a salesman and was not good at it at all. Those who can do it have my respect.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
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