Duct Tape Wallets: A Story of a Do-Something Summer

august2014 120Duct tape is an amazing invention. Whoever first invented duct tape was a genius. Not only can it be used as a quick fix around the house, but it can also be used as an artistic tool, and, as my children learned this past year, it can be used as a way to serve God.

Our duct tape adventure began nearly a year ago when it was announced that there would be a “Kids’ Marketplace” at the annual campmeeting the boys and I attend together every year. All children were encouraged to bring items to camp that they could sell on that day, and all the money made would go directly to the mission project for the week. My second oldest son left excited about the prospect of having his own booth at the marketplace, he recruited his younger brother to help him, and the two of them embarked on a project that would last throughout the next year. The boys immediately decided that their medium of choice would be – you guessed it – duct tape.

Isn’t it incredible how God can take something so ordinary, such as duct tape, and turn it into something extraordinary for the Kingdom? In His hands, even the most ordinary household object can become a tool that can be used to advance the kingdom if there is someone willing to do the work.

Once the boys had agreed on their medium of choice, the next step was to decide exactly what they would make with the duct tape.

And so began our journey into the vast field of duct tape art.

duct.tape.01Do you know how many items can be made simply by using duct tape? My boys found youtube videos on wallets, purses, belts, vests, flip-flops – you name it, it can probably be made with duct tape! In the end, they decided to make duct tape wallets and purses, so I purchased a couple rolls of gray duct tape and told them to practice. It didn’t take long for them to perfect their design and soon I was buying them decorative duct tape and their plan was put into action.

Do you have a plan in place of how to use your gifts for God’s service? A plan in the hands of God can lead to amazing results. How are we to ever make a difference in the world if we don’t step out in faith with our gifts? If we continue to hide our gifts, if we continue to say, “Someone else will do it,” or, “I’m not nearly as talented as that other person,” we will miss out on what God can do with a willing heart and an obedient spirit.

Throughout the following year, the boys made several interesting duct tape wallets and purses. They had batman wallets, mustache wallets, camouflage wallets, pink, purple, blue wallets . . . so many wallets! They even made a few matching purses! Every once in awhile, one of the boys would make a comment questioning if anyone would ever buy the wallets, but they didn’t let their doubts keep them from doing their job. They were faithful, and when campmeeting came around the following year, they were prepared.

A plan does no good if it is not put into action. Once we have a plan and we do not hear a definite, “Stop!” coming from our Father, we need to proceed and put that plan into action. Doubts may creep in along the way, but we cannot let those doubts keep us from proceeding. We need to step out in faith and be faithful. We need to be prepared to serve.

At the same time my boys were working on their duct tape wallets, we were going through a mission-focused series with the kids at our church. Part of the lessons each week focused on what was called an “Inspiring Kids’ story” – a way that an ordinary kid was putting his gifts to use to make a difference for God around the world. Every week we challenged our kids to find creative ways to make a difference. Every week we challenged our kids to make an “Inspiring Kids’ Story” out of their lives.

And my boys were doing just that.

When we step out in faith and serve, we make an “Inspiring Kids’ Story” out of our lives, too. True, our stories might not ever be written down in a book or broadcast to the rest of the world, but if that is what we are seeking then we need to check our motives. We reach out and serve, not for the glory we will receive, but for the glory that will come to the Father.

august2014 115Finally the week of camp arrived. Excitedly, we loaded the car and made the four and a half hour trip up to the thumb of Michigan where we would spend the next ten days. Our crate full of duct tape purses and wallets traveled with us, riding in the front of the van right next to me to make sure nothing happened to damage them. We were all excited to see how much money would be made for missions from the sale of these wallets. I was hoping to at least get as much as we put into it, the boys were hoping to at least sell one!

It can be nerve-wrecking when we use our gifts in a creative way and step out in faith to serve God. We can’t see the end result, we have no idea what will happen. What if our idea flops? What if nothing happens and we are left looking foolish and misguided?

But then our Father comes along beside us.

When the day of the Kids’ Marketplace arrived, my dad donated several hand-made wooden clocks to the boys for them to sell along with their wallets and purses. My boys sold their wallets for two dollars, purses for three dollars, and the clocks for fifteen dollars. When the sale began, they were still nervous about how much they would sell, but they had gained confidence knowing that they had the help of my dad and his clocks.

When our Father comes along beside us, he multiplies the results. His power gives us what we need to see the results of our plans turn into exactly what He intended – which is usually much more than we intended.

august2014 106For two hours the marketplace was mobbed by people. Fellow campers arrived, ready to spend money to support the kids who had worked so hard, with all the proceeds going to buy a motorcycle for a mission in Africa. Children from all over the camp came together to sell lemonade, cookies, bracelets, candy, and other items. (My personal favorite table was the one that sold slime for fifty cents.) Many of the kids sold all their merchandise, and my boys were thrilled when their wallets sold quickly. They also sold several clocks.

When the sale was over, the money was counted and then turned in for a final tally. The goal for the kids at camp for the entire week was just a little over $1000 – enough to purchase one motorcycle. In those two hours alone, the kids at the camp raised over $2000 – enough to buy a motorcycle and chickens, which would be greatly appreciated at the mission in Africa.

august2014 112And my boys? They made $389 selling duct tape wallets, purses, and wooden clocks – raising the most money of any of the other tables.

It is amazing what God can do with a little duct tape.

If God can use two elementary boys and a roll of duct tape, God can use you! Discover your gift, make a plan, put your plan in action and then let your Father come along beside you and will be amazed at what the end results will be!

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

1 Peter 4:10-11 (NASB)

May this article encourage you to get out and DO SOMETHING!!

This post is similar to one found in my book Banana Bread & Mismatched Socks: 100 Devotional Thoughts From My Every Day Life.  Buy your copy today!

http://www.amazon.com/Banana-Bread-Mismatched-Socks-Devotional/dp/1500519839/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412530696&sr=8-1&keywords=Banana+Bread+%26+Mismatched+Socks

Check out http://creativekkids.com/thoughtful-thursdays-4/ for more thoughtful posts.

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Author: Cheri Gamble

Cheri Gamble is a minister's wife and mom to five boys who lives in Southwestern Lower Michigan. She and her husband, Tom, have been married for over twenty years and they have been involved with vocational ministry for just as long. Cheri enjoys working with the children and youth at her church as a Sunday School teacher, children's worship leader, and children's music and drama leader. She also serves as a volunteer consultant at the local Pregnancy Resource Center and works part time as a Youth Services Team Member at her local library. In her free time, Cheri enjoys reading, writing, working on her blog, and watching football with her boys.

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