Equipment for daily living

Published 9:45 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2017

By Tonya S. Swindell

My friend, Marian, affirmed my capabilities. And through a series of inspiring text messages, she taught me about writings by Edward Albert Guest, an English-born poet with an optimistic view of daily living.

The poem, “Equipment,” taught me I possess the same potential as every great individual.

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Dr. George Washington Carver recited “Equipment” for a commencement address at Selma University. And on YouTube, Carver can be heard delivering it. Reportedly a recording of his voice can also be heard at the George Washington Carver Museum on the campus of Tuskegee University.

“Equipment” promoted a “can do” attitude that inspired Carver and others. The poem also reminded me God has a plan for my well being, and He desires to instill hope for my future. “Equipment” reads as follows:

Figure it out for yourself, my lad,

You’ve all that the greatest of men have had,

Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes

And a brain to use if you would be wise.

With this equipment they all began,

So start for the top and say, “I can.”


Look them over, the wise and great

They take their food from a common plate,

And similar knives and forks they use,

With similar laces they tie their shoes.

The world considers them brave and smart,

But you’ve all they had when they made their start.


You can triumph and come to skill,

You can be great if you only will.

You’re well equipped for what fight you choose,

You have legs and arms and a brain to use,

And the man who has risen great deeds to do

Began his life with no more than you.


You are the handicap you must face,

You are the one who must choose your place,

You must say where you want to go,

How much you will study the truth to know.

God has equipped you for life, but He

Lets you decide what you want to be.


Courage must come from the soul within,

The man must furnish the will to win

So figure it out for yourself, my lad.

You were born with all the great have had.

With your equipment they all began,

Get hold of yourself and say: “I can.”

-Edgar A. Guest

Uplifting verses like Psalm 138:8 and 2 Peter 1:3 also remind me of God’s purpose and provision. Psalm 138:8 says, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me…” 2 Peter 1:3: “For as you know him better, he will give you, through his great power, everything you need for living a truly good life…”

“Equipment” and supporting verses inspired me to write about God’s purpose and provision for daily living:

God has given me a vision,

And blessed me with Divine Assistance.

And He already made provision,

Through generous gifts of equipment.

With tools I can accomplish my mission.

Because of His blessings I can go the distance.

I can reach my intended position,

With success and clear direction.

Tonya Swindell writes a blog for and a teacher for Kingdom Building Equipping School ( She can be reached at