Precision needed when God calls

Published 1:25 pm Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My first full-time job was working as a sheet metal apprentice.

I was attending trade school, and the first day on the job I was teamed with a master journeyman. He had the reputation of being a perfectionist and difficult to work with, but I learned more from him than anyone else. When this journeyman was working on anything, he believed everything had to be within a 1/16th of an inch tolerance.

When dealing with some of the machines we were working with, a 16th–of–an–inch could be lost because the blade of a shear was often thicker. I often wondered, what difference did it make?

I soon learned that the precision was not just a routine, but a lifestyle. We had a saying in the business, “If it doesn’t fit, just get a bigger hammer!”

The master craftsman took so much pride in his work; he could not bear the thought of hammer marks on his creation. He took so much pride in being a sheet metal master journeyman, that it was not just a job or career, it was a calling.

While preparing for this article, I did some research. I drew a line 12 inches long. I purposely made one mark at the end of the line 1/16th–inch below the other end. Then I extended the line another 12 inches with the same 1/16th variance. To save you the excruciating details, I will share the following facts. To the untrained human eye, a 1/16th of an inch is hard to see.

So, here are the results of this experiment. After drawing a line 10-feet long, with the 1/16th inch variance every 12 inches, the line would be off by 5/8th of an inch. That is just over 1/2 inch. After 20 feet, the line was off by 1 and 1/4 inches. Pretty soon, if this process is not corrected, we will have major problems.

So, the question remains, “Is close, close enough?”

When we are dealing with the work of God and souls and the absolutes of God’s word, probably not. The work of God deserves our very best. After all it is a calling, not just a job.