Commentary: 'I'm not much of a handyman'


Cleaning out my desk, I found my “Handyman Club of America” sticker. I remember the day I received it. This piece of junk mail caught my eye, I opened it, and my self-esteem received an immediate boost.

“Your membership has been approved! You are an official member of the Handyman Club of America. Please keep what you learn here to yourself. Use your special member privileges for YOUR benefit only. Keep any free tools or equipment given to you by the club out of the hands of non-members.”

“Wow!” I thought, “I’m finally a handyman!” Though anyone can learn to swing a hammer, I usually bent more nails than I drove and wasn’t exposed to many handyman opportunities growing up. Doing “handyman stuff didn’t come naturally, took too much effort, and brought too much stress.

I discovered early on I was more of a liberal arts guy. I was very slow with the hands-on stuff. I can whip out the annual Christmas letter, but putting together a tricycle on Christmas Eve was an ordeal.

“The Handyman Club of America is special. We are a membership of people who get a lot of satisfaction from doing things ourselves. From what we know about you, you are our kind of handyman.”

They probably didn’t know about my experience at a local hardware store in my hometown. When I was a teenager, I mowed lawns, raked leaves, and did yard work. I posted signs in the convenience stores near our subdivision: “Will Mow Lawns in Allenwood. Call 452-xxxx.” I developed some regular customers.

One day a “Mrs. C” requested I mow her lawn. She was so impressed with my work ethic and good job she invited me to come down to her hardware store at Christmas break and she’d hire me.

I was thrilled she recognized my hard work and rewarded me with a Christmas job. The first day her son the manager sent me to the attic with two other workers to put together bicycles, big wheels, and other assorted kiddie vehicles. I didn’t have a good feeling about this, but I gave it my best shot.

By lunchtime, I was still struggling with completing my first project. Her son the manager recognized I’d been on the clock for four hours already and had yet to produce a finished product. So, he pulled me out of the attic and put me on the sales floor.

That was fine, since, being a people person, I’d rather interact with the public than spend all day with nuts, bolts, and wrenches. Only, they gave me zero orientation. So, when a customer came in and requested whatever specialized screw, tool, or whatever gizmo handymen shop for, I had to run ask her son the manager where it was.

This went on every day for the three-week duration of my Christmas job. I was ready to move on, and they were probably relieved to see school resume, also.

The next Christmas, I checked to see if they needed seasonal help. Interestingly, “Mrs. C” said they didn’t need anyone that Christmas. At least I gained some exposure to hardware and tools.

My next big hands-on adventure came years later in Awendaw, South Carolina. Hurricane Hugo tore up the South Carolina coast, and a group from my church traveled to Awendaw to help First Baptist Church with repairs.

I was assigned to drywall, mud and sand the new bathroom that would soon be used by other mission groups coming to work that summer. I spent the week mudding and sanding, mudding and sanding, and then sanding some more. It was educational, not to mention dusty.

“Today, our rolls include the cream of do-it-yourself enthusiasts. When you see the Club Decal, you know you’re in the company of a handyman who enjoys doing things for himself. One who takes pride in his work.”

I’m not much of a handyman, but I’m thankful God takes pride in His work. The Bible says, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.” (Ephesians 2:10).

Day by day, God is in the process of maturing us and shaping us into the image of His Son Jesus. As we believers rely on Him, God works and builds our lives. He is the ultimate handyman, and “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion . . .” (Philippians 1:6).


David L. Chancey, “The Writing Pastor,” recently retired from McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, GA. He looks forward to continuing to preach and to expanding his writing ministry. View his other writings at