The Master Carpenter

Ever since I was a boy, I’ve been drawn to the power of story. Whether it was a movie or book, a good story could easily set its hooks in me, not allowing me to move until it was finished. I don’t think I’m unique in this because we Christians are a people of The Story. It’s in our bones. Therefore, I believe stories can be a fresh and compelling way to communicate truths of reality.

The following is a short story I’ve recently written. I’m hesitant to put it before you because I haven’t written any fiction since I was a child. I’m sure it’s not great, but hopefully it will allow you to see some glorious truths from a different perspective.

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There was an old, skilled carpenter who loved to restore broken furniture. One morning, while taking his daily stroll through the neighborhood, he saw a moving van backed up to a neighbor’s house. Out in the yard, hastily piled up, were an old dining table and chairs.

Deep scratches ran all along the top of the table. Legs were barely hanging onto the chairs, which only matched the table in the amount of dust and dirt they carried. This set had seen its better days.

No one passing by would give a second glance to this dining room set. But the eyes of the carpenter were locked upon these broken-down pieces. I must have these, he thought.

About that time, a man came out of the house with a huge cardboard box headed for the moving van. The young man noticed the carpenter and kindly nodded his head in acknowledgement but couldn’t stop walking on account of the cumbersome box in his arms.

After depositing his box in the truck, this man turned his attention to the carpenter.

“Are you taking the table and chairs with you,” asked the carpenter.

“Goodness, no! The only place they’re headed is the junk yard.”

“How much would you want for them?”

“How much? Why would you want that pile of junk? Well, I guess it’s no concern of mine. You can have them if you’ll come pick them up. It’ll save me gas.”

“Deal,” said the old man through a broad smile.

Later, after the carpenter had gotten his truck and hauled the table and chairs to his workshop, he gazed at the less-than-beautiful collection of wood before him. He rubbed his hand over the top of the table, letting the scratches and texture of the wood tell him its story. It was a tragedy–one of past glory that had been lost. You are broken, but I’m going to make you beautiful again, he thought. Any other person would consider the furniture worthless, but the old man was different. He had a way of looking through the dirt and rottenness to see how beautiful they might be. He saw the splendor of the finished product as if it were already sitting before him.

With that goal in mind, the carpenter set to work, his hands dancing back and forth from sander and hammer, saw and level. If someone happened to venture into the workshop that day, they would have noticed that the carpenter’s hands possessed both power and delicate touch; he could rip the cracked leg off the chair and smooth the rough edges but still carve intricate details into the side of the table. He was a master at work.

Hours stretched on, but he was in no hurry. This restoration project would take time, and it was well worth it in the carpenter’s eyes.

Slowly but steadily, the table was transformed. Chairs that once creaked and slouched of old age now seemed to stand at attention with youthful vigor. Wood stain resurrected the rich colors of the oak that was previously entombed by flat, flaky paint.

Once completed, the table and chairs were displayed in the dining room for all to see. Every visitor who came in would remark on its beauty. Their eyes would run over the splendor and ornate details of the furniture, and the table and chairs sang a new song for all to hear. It was no longer a song of deterioration and decay. It was a song of restoration, redemption, and resurrection. It was a song of new creation.

Oh, the wonderful work of the Master Carpenter!


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