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Matt Woodly, a father of four, talks about buying his children a swing set, about 15 years ago, as an early Christmas present. It was an extra long metal set with two swings, a two-seater swinging bench, a slide, monkey bars, and a series of hanging rings. He thought the time invested in putting it together would be a great way to show them his love. Besides, it was cheap, and it was made in Germany. He reasoned, "You can't beat German engineering!"


Well, after purchasing, hauling, dragging, and opening the 200-pound box, Matt was suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer number of parts and the complexity of the instructions. Based on his eye-popping assessment, he would have to assemble about 10,000 tiny screws, washers, nuts and bolts, wing-nuts, more washers, plastic pieces, metal bars, and metal chains. They provided an English translation of the instructions, but unfortunately there were no pictures or diagrams -- just convoluted, technical instructions apparently written by scientists for experts in mechanical engineering.


Matt said, "It was too complicated for an ordinary, non-engineer like me." So with help from some mechanically-inclined friends, Matt finally managed to assemble the whole thing, but he had a few dozen leftover parts. It is little wonder, then, that his 34 pound son made the entire swing set shake and wobble.


(From a sermon by C. Philip Green, The Father's Gift 12/16/2010)

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