A Linchpin Parable

Today I received an education.  This city boy has never really been around farm equipment much.  My idea of power tools are a lawnmower, leafblower, and weed wacker.  I’ve spent some time around a drill and saw as well.  Last year our church acquired a snowblower to help clear the sidewalks and some of the long driveways and to help us get out when we had more than a few inches.  (Our van does not like the long hill coming up to the church.)  Last year I ran into some trouble with the snowblower.  As I was snowblowing, all of a sudden I lost traction.  I had power to one wheel but not the other.  I could also see that one of the wheels was trying to com off.  I tried to put a nail in the hole that was left, but to no avail, that nail broke with the pressure of the powered snowblower.  Some one else tried another tactic, but that is where we remained until today.

Staunton is currently under a Winter Storm Warning for tomorrow.  Depending on what weather site or channel you listen to we could have 1 to 3″ or 5 to 8″.  That’s a huge variable.  Needless to say, I want to make sure the snowblower is working.  I went out to the kitchen in our pavilion (where the snowblower is stored,) took the pin out (that was still working) and tried to figure out where to find a replacement.  I had looked around Lowe’s several times but couldn’t find what I was looking for in the snowblower parts.


Here is what a linchpin looks like.

I decided to try something else – we went to Tractor Supply Company.  It was a great little field trip.  We saw some great farm toys for our grandson.  We wandered around the store, not knowing where to look to find what we were looking for.  Finally there was someone in Customer Service.  I showed them the pin and they pointed me in the general direction.  Immediately I saw what I was looking for and it turns out what I had been looking for was a linchpin.  Apparently they are very common in the farming world.  It did turn out that they were out of stock of the particular size that I needed but were very helpful in suggesting that I go to the Augusta Farm Co-op.  That made two trips in one day to stores that I had never been in, but it was a fun adventure.  When we got to the co-op, we looked around and then a gentleman asked what we were looking for.  At least now I could answer with confidence, “I’m looking for a 1/4″ linchpin.”  He took us right to the spot.  Instead of buying just one, I bought three – two for spares.  The brass linchpin I believe will do the trick.

After purchasing the linchpins, we had to go to the bank, so while Pam was in the bank, I decided to Google what a linchpin was.

  1. a pin passed through the end of an axle to keep a wheel in position.
  2. a person or thing vital to an enterprise or organization.

I had always heard the term linchpin, but never understood what it meant.  I knew it was important and now that I have two new linchpins installed on the church snowblower, I have a better understanding.  Several weeks ago, we sang the song God of the Ages, which is based on an early hymn of the church that we find in Colossians 1:15-20

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
    which is his body.
He is the beginning,
    supreme over all who rise from the dead.[b]
    So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
    was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
    everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
    by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

Check out verse 17 – 17 He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.

It came to me during our little adventure this morning that Jesus is the linchpin of creation, of humankind, and our lives.  This even got me to thinking a little more.  I though about the various jury-rigging, cobb jobs that we tried to fix the snowblower.  They didn’t fix it because they were not linchpins.  Only a linchpin could fix the problem and hold the wheel on the axle.

I think about how we as humans will look to everything but Jesus – we will try anything but Jesus, but it just doesn’t work.  Our lives are out of balance – just like the snowblower was when it didn’t have the linchpin in the axle.  I wasn’t able to get the job done.  The substitutes just kept on breaking.  It wasn’t until we got the real thing that the snowblower performed the way it should.

The same goes for our spiritual lives.  We try all kinds of things to “fix” our lives when really we need to look to the linchpin of Jesus.  He is the only one that can truly hold our lives together.

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