I am pleased to share this special guest post by my friend and United States Marine Corps Veteran, John C. Gyorki. You will see that John has a gift of infusing wisdom and truth into entertaining stories of days gone by.
His post is especially timely as we prepare to observe Memorial Day. Tomorrow as we reflect on the sacrifices made by those who have proudly served our country, let us never forget about the ultimate sacrifice that was made for all of mankind. Enjoy!
HAMMER AND NAIL
My favorite tool of choice is the hammer. It’s a versatile tool used for building, shaping, or demolition. It’s not uncommon to recognize how the hammer symbolizes power and authority. You can find the image embroidered on many foreign countries’ flags.
As a young adolescent, if I heard hammers pounding in the neighborhood, that meant carpenters were building a new home. I would jump on my bike and head towards the noise until I found men cutting, hammering, and nailing. Oh, how I enjoyed the smell of fresh cut lumber. I watched the builders for hours.
LITTLE HAMMER BOY
During my childhood, the hammer became the tool I gravitated towards. It started off with a wooden replica of a miniature mallet as a toddler. I whacked little wooden dowel rods into my peg-n-play set with a determination I still have to this day. It didn’t matter whether or not I hit my peg. I simply enjoyed making noise with my mallet, smacking any object I could get my hands on.
I loved watching my father build things with wood. He skillfully cut planks and framed garden boxes for planting spring vegetable seeds. Each nail pierced the soft fresh pine-scented wood with striking precision I found intriguing.
After a half hour, I’d rush into the house and grab my weak little wooden mallet, then rush back outside to try my hand at driving nails into the plank alongside my dad.
My father would step aside and watch me struggle as I clumsily tried to drive a metal nail with a toy hammer. For a time, he watched how determined his little boy was to mimic his actions. I became frustrated and angry for my lack of skill. I’d throw my toy hammer to the ground and give up.
Dad would calm me and explain how with practice I would become better at driving nails.
EACH PASSING YEAR
With each passing year, I became better skilled at driving nails. My father and I would compete to see who could drive the nail completely into the wood plank with the least amount of strikes.
I remember how dad would say, “I’d rather be the hammer instead of the nail.”
“Why?” I would ask.
“The hammer rules over the destiny of the nail. The nail accepts the authority of the hammer. Would you rather live life on your own terms or someone else’s? Always be the hammer. Take aim and shape your own life. Never be the nail and allow someone else to strike you down,” Dad would reply.
At the time I didn’t understand his statement. Reflecting, I now understand his words. Dad gave me a little glimpse of living under a communistic rule of his homeland of Hungary – the very reason he escaped the suffocating grip of communism.
Over the years, I’ve grown fond of reflecting on lessons learned from my life (good and bad). I see metaphorical examples in them.
When I think back to my father’s advice, I’m reminded of all the occasions I have felt the blunt force of sudden changes from the hammer of life, whether brought on myself or induced by someone else.
When I didn’t focus and take aim on my life’s direction, I became the mindless nail to be battered.
There are many allegorical examples contained within the Bible describing a hammer. It’s depicted as a tool of great force, shaping and forming. Likewise, the nail can be used to fasten, but it’s also a great illustration of painful suffering. Ultimately, the nail receives the force of the hammer.
How many times have you been the nail in your life?
We have all felt beaten down on one occasion or another, either intentionally or unintentionally.
The very essence of defeat can deflate us, but it can also can place us in a position of strength. At our weakest moment, we can find strength, hope, and faith to move us forward.
A Living Sacrifice
For me, reading and studying biblical principles helped me shape my life after moments of defeat or devastating destruction. I nailed God’s words to my heart to help me sustain life’s unexpected blows.
Isn’t it amazing how our God allowed the sacrifice of His Son, our Lord and Savior, by using a hammer and nail on Him!
Christ took several blows from the hammer as they nailed Him to a wooden cross between two criminals. Jesus sacrificed His life for us, so we can have it, then, through Him, bridge our lives back to God.
The living Creator allowed His Son to be a living sacrifice for all our wrongdoings.
Anytime I have strayed from my faith or found myself in a predicament, I would cry out to the Lord to save me.
I would encourage everyone, especially our young, to embrace Bible truth with your heart. Let God’s words renew your mind and then accept Jesus His Son as Savior to guide you through the maze of life.
Seek and find the tools necessary to endure the strikes of the hammer so you don’t feel the pain of the nail. You will not regret you did.
Thank you for reading this message. I hope you found my simple story inspiring. –John
“I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will become a seat of honor for the house of his father.” –Isaiah 22:23 (NIV)
A special thank you to Dawn Benson Jones for this guest post opportunity.
About John C. Gyorki
John is currently an Electrical Skilled Tradesman for the University of Michigan and has over 33 years of experience in his field. He resides in Southern Michigan with his wife Maryann. He spent four years in the Marine Corps as a 7011 (Aircraft Launch & Recovery Tech). After his tour, he completed a four year Inside Wireman Electrical Apprenticeship with I.B.E.W. (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers).
At a very young age, John developed a love for reading and hoarding books and has continued to do so. It’s not uncommon to see him writing notes about something. John believes inspiration comes from an intentional reading of the Word and following the Lord. He feels it encourages better living and thinking.
When John is not working, writing, and reading books of various genres, he is trying his best at being a husband to his wife, father of six, grandfather of seven, brother to four, brother and friend to all, uncle to seven.
His hobbies are: making sausage and jerky or fermenting cabbage and pickles. He is always in charge of making Hungarian Goulash over an open pit fire. No one else is allowed!
You can find more of John’s work at his website thinkerme.com and other social media platforms including: