Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | April 1, 2012

It Takes Two Hands

Over the years I have kept a mental list of things that look easy to do on television but are actually harder to do in real life. While in Mongolia in the winter of 1998, the vehicle I was in broke down and my Mongolian friends and I had to walk about a mile through knee-deep snow. It was one of the most exhausting things I have ever experienced. One of my Mongol friends saw that this South Texas boy was having more than a little difficulty so he prompted me to follow him and to step into his tracks — a small thing that made a huge difference.

Climbing a rock wall is another one of those things that look easy to do on television. However, my first experience proved otherwise. Thank God for the patient fellow who was belaying me. I finally made it to the top but only because he coached me on how to position myself to get out of a bind and because he patiently kept both hands on the rope, thus giving me the time to figure things out.

Paddling a canoe also looks easier to do on television. However, after participating in three canoe races and several training runs with my son this year, I can confess that it is not as easy as it looks. While training on the San Marcos River on Friday, Jonathan and I were privileged to get some coaching from Holly Orr (what an appropriate name), a US Canoe Association certified instructor. Holly noticed things and made suggestions that made a big difference in our paddling. Jonathan and I spent Saturday tweaking our paddling technique and were amazed at how much more efficiently we were able to track and maneuver our canoe.

There are a number of strokes that are important to master in order to navigate a canoe efficiently and effectively down a river — like the forward or power stroke, the back stroke, the J-stroke, and the draw stroke. When executed properly, each of these strokes enable you to navigate a canoe down flat water and through rapids. However, each of these strokes have one thing in common — they require that you keep both hands on the paddle. It’s impossible to execute any of these strokes with only a single hand on the paddle.

While paddling down the San Marcos River yesterday, I had some time to think about the placement of my hands on my new 10-ounce carbon fiber Zaveral paddle. Looking at my hands reminded me of a Scripture passage I had studied earlier this month in my quiet time. The story of the consecration of Aaron and his sons is recorded in Leviticus 8. After slaying a ram, God instructed Moses to take some of the blood and put it on the lobe of the right ear of Aaron and his sons, on the thumb of their right hand, and the big toe of their right foot. This action signified that they were to only listen to God’s voice, do His will, and walk in His ways.

Moses then took various parts of the slain animal and put them into the hands of Aaron and his sons. The Hebrew word “consecration” actually means “to fill the hands.” Aaron’s hands were so full that he could hold nothing else. His hands were fully occupied with the things of God, which is essentially what it means to be consecrated. Our hands are, perhaps, the highest representation of service. Along with our entire bodies (Rom. 12:1-2), as Christ-followers we should make certain that our hands are fully occupied with the purposes and passions of God — something guaranteed to make our journey through life more meaningful. I won’t be able to look at my canoe paddle without being reminded that it takes two hands to hold the paddle and that I must also make both of my hands available to serve the purposes of God in my generation. That’s a good thing to remember!

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