One of my favorite stores was the main street hardware in my parent’s home town. I used to think up reasons to go there.

When you walked in, the same friendly face greeted you, that of a man, then in his eighties. Best I could tell, he must have had a photographic memory, or something close.

For the store itself was a maze of hundreds of shelves, hooks, boxes, bags, and drawers. It looked to be in such disarray that finding a light bulb, tenpenny nail, or pipe threader would have been an arduous task.

But not for the old man. Ask, and it was given. Seek, and he would find. He was amazing, a one man human retrieval system for a thousand tons of bolts, screws, lawnmower blades, rope, wire, batteries, knives, rakes, wrenches, and wheelbarrows.

His store was on the block, same location, for decades. It’s closed now, actually, replaced by a gift shop and art gallery. Why? I wonder.

My best guess is that when the old man died, no one could find anything. Only he knew the system. Only he had the inventory in his head. Only he knew where things were. Perhaps the passion and vision for a hardware store at that location were his and his alone.

Note to self: If you want something to outlive you, love it enough to involve, mentor, and train others. That is what Jesus did.

“What you have heard from me
in the presence of many witnesses,
entrust to faithful men,
who will be able to teach others also.”
2 Timothy 2:2

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