Once upon a time the people of Israel had a blacksmith school. The fathers and grandfathers brought their young men to Blacksmith School every day; for they knew the skills of ironwork were vital to the strength of their nation.
The young men eagerly anticipated Blacksmith School, where they learned how to make tools and plowshares for agriculture as well as swords and spears for battle. Watching the red hot iron pour from the cauldron, then turning, hammering and shaping the metal into useful instruments was a highly coveted skill.
But then, over time, some of the young men began to grow weary of the work of Blacksmith School. The tasks seemed menial and mundane. The tools seemed unimportant, the weapons unnecessary. Besides, they could go to a nearby Philistine city and buy ironwork for a reasonable price.
Sometime later, the Blacksmith School closed. No one thought much of it at first. After all, times were changing. And if they needed repairs on their tools, the Philistines happily did the work for a small fee. Nothing wrong with a little business from the neighbor, right?
Then one day, a surprise attack occurred and a battle flared up between Israel and the Philistines. The Philistine squadrons lined the surrounding roadways. The Israeli soldiers ran to their homes and storehouses to grab their weapons, but they found none. Not a sword or spear to be had, except for the king’s household. They were completely helpless to fight the battle. They had stopped learning how to fashion effective weapons from iron. Somehow, it just hadn’t seemed that important. But now the Philistines had complete control over the battle, and the children of God were completely helpless at the hand of the enemy.
Imagine for a moment that instead of a blacksmith school, this parable told the story of a wordsmith school. And imagine that young men and women of God stopped learning how to be wordsmiths, instead letting others write their histories, biographies, columns and stories. One day, when the battle is fierce on the cultural war front, we will run to our bookshelves and reach for the truth recorded in our histories and stories, but we will not find it – because somehow, at the time, it just didn’t seem that important.
May we all rise up and learn the lesson of the Blacksmith School before it is too late. We must renew our commitment to teach our young men and women the skills of a wordsmith. We need to infuse in them a love and passion for writing the truth in our histories, biographies and stories for the next generation. If we cease to train future wordsmiths, we are in grave danger of finding ourselves in the midst of a great battle without our weapons.