An Afternoon with Jesus

2 02 2010

I walk in and focus on an image, his hand. As I looked, I realized he was soothing a fresh piece of wood. I looked up and saw his face, smiling, glad I had joined him. It was the first time I’ve found him as a carpenter, and it shocked me.

He showed me the long piece of wood, with the intricate grain. And he spoke, “Feel the wood, it is smooth and soft and warm. It feels alive beneath your hand. Remember the ancient wooden steps in the castle you visited? How worn and smooth they were, until they glowed? Remember how they felt under your feet, knowing that thousands of feet had trodden the same steps? That someone had taken great care to smooth and place them? Wood only gets better with age, if it’s taken care of.”

“What is this particular piece going to be used for?” I asked.

“This will be a beam in a house. See, our houses need long cross beams to support the roof, they are only visible from the inside.”

“But why are you smoothing it with so much care? No one will ever touch it. It’s simply support, half hidden in the mud roof.”

“I always take great care, in everything I do. It’s the attention to detail – making perfect details, that makes the whole perfect.”

“But why do you spend so much time on your carpentry? Don’t you ever feel like you’re meant for something more? Like you have a mission to fulfill? Can you be content in this?” I asked, knowing full well that we both knew what his mission was.

With a caress that betrayed his love of the wood, and an intense light in his eyes, he responded, “If I didn’t take time with this, how could you trust that I’d take time with you, with anyone? What I do here reflects my character. See, just as I smooth out the wood, I find the grain and work with it, not against it, I sand and polish, even so I work with people. I carve them, smooth them, polish them, working always with the grain to bring out the greatest beauty. If I didn’t take the time here, how could you trust me to take the time with people? And what, should I do it for a chair and not for the roof beam, simply because no one will ever touch it? What then, should I take the time with a pastor or prominent teacher, but not with the least and the lost, with the servants, the supports? How then should I draw the line? Who is to say which beam deserves or requires my utmost attention? Do I not say that each piece, however small, is worth it? No, if I didn’t take the time, and have a love for my work here, I’d never be ready for my “mission” as you call it.”

I smile, satisfied. With eyes closed, I too caress the warm wood, feeling the soothing silkiness.