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The Valley of Skilled Workers

Seraiah was the father of Joab, the father of Ge Harashim. It was called this because its people were skilled workers. (1 Chronicles 4:14)

It was common in Israelite history to name portions of land after the person who settled the territory. It was also common to name individuals according to the unique talents God had placed within him or her. Here we encounter a man name Ge Harashim, after whom the family’s land was named. “Ge Harashim” in Hebrews means “valley of skilled workers.” It was no doubt a reference to their ability to work with their hands and manufacture tools and artwork that helped the rest of the inhabitants of Israel. The notion stuck out to me because the great need I see in my life and the lives of those I interact with is the development of skills to match the challenge of our age.
I live near a number of military bases which are endowed with powerful fighting jets. They can often be seen in the skies practicing maneuvers to keep the skills of the pilots in top shape. Periodically, there are open houses at these bases to give the general public an opportunity to see the base and take an up close peek at these impressive metal birds. During one of these visits, ladders were set up at a number of display fighters to give us a glimpse of the cockpit. I curiously climbed the steps and gazed at an unfamiliar collection of gauges, levers, pedals and buttons. These would have been strategically comfortable to a trained pilot but they were uselessly uncomfortable to me. This is the difference between skilled and unskilled participants.
The thought hit me as I was standing at the top of the stairs, what would happen if they put me in that seat and told me to fly? I can tell you with full confidence that I would quickly and calmly say, “I don’t know how to fly.” If it was left at that, I would just as calmly have gotten out of the cockpit and left the driving to someone more skilled than me. What if, however, they persisted and told me again, “I am sorry, sir, but you have to fly and you have to fly today!” My mood and response would change quickly. I would be panicked, argumentative, stressed, miserably self-conscious and loud. I would protest and accuse my superior of putting too many demands on me too fast. I probably would have thrown a tantrum to match the most expressive two year old. In a word, I would revolt simply because I didn’t have the skill.
On the other hand, if I developed the skill and practiced it often enough and carefully enough I could go on the ride of my life.
This really is the way of life.
• When we develop effective relationship skills, our interactions with the people we care about are very satisfying. When we lack the skills, we revolt by overreacting and placing too many demands on others and too few demands on ourselves.
• When we develop technology skills, we find many enjoyable ways to enhance our lives and make the processes of life more efficient. When we lack the skills, we get overwhelmed by the newest developments and watch from the sidelines as the rest of the pack passes us by.
• When we develop life productivity skills (time management, budgeting, etc.), we get more done in an average day than the average person. When we lack these skills, we tend to live in personal panic wondering what happened to all our time and money.
And the list goes on but the principle is clear. The more skilled I am, the easier life seems. May it be said of us that we live in the valley of skilled of workers.

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