He picks up the wooden board and places it on the table. He measures it, cuts it, chisels, and planes it. He thoughtfully carves it and with his skillful hands he forms into the shape that it was destined to take. Then he sands it down, eliminating hard edges and rough patches.
His name…is Jesus.
And you are the board.
The Master Carpenter
You may have never considered important the fact that Jesus was a carpenter, but one day at the dinner table it hit me. A carpenter! Jesus was a carpenter! Not only in the physical sense of the word, but figuratively as well. He was the master carpenter for goodness sake.
Mark 6:3 says, “Isn’t this the carpenter?” and Matthew 13:55, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” The people who said it perhaps never understood the weight of their words. They meant it derogatorily. They knew Jesus as the carpenter’s son, they knew his mother and brothers and sisters. They’d likely seen Jesus grow up. To them, he was basically just a local boy who’d grown up to be a poor man with delusions of grandeur. When they called him “the carpenter’s son”, they likely never dreamed what kind of significance those words held. When they said it, they were referring to Joseph as His father, but His true Father was the greatest carpenter of all…God. From the blackness and the void, from darkness and nothing, he carved out a universe, an earth, land, skies, and seas, he formed the wonders of the world and he shaped and breathed life into man. Jesus was indeed “the carpenter’s son”, the Master Carpenter’s son.
Vessels of Beauty
Of all the professions in the world, which could be more fitting than carpentry? He did it back in Nazareth and He does it even now, every day, with us. We are the wood which He forms and carves. Oftentimes we may not like the process of being formed; at times it may be downright painful, but He knows what He’s doing. We may not even notice how we’re taking shape, how the hard edges and rough patches are being smoothed down, how we’re slowly transforming into a vessel of beauty and utility. Yet under the skillful hands of The Carpenter, this is what happens.
When the Wood Runs Away
What is perhaps the most renowned object in history that’s made of wood? Maybe some of you guessed it; maybe some of you are drawing a blank. Either way I’ll tell you. It’s the cross…and fittingly so. Jesus, the Master Carpenter, was crucified on a wooden cross. The very thing that he had shaped and formed with His own hands was the very thing on which He died. Just like the very people He had formed and had come to save were the very people who crucified Him. We, as the wood, oftentimes fight against The Carpenter’s plans for us, maybe even run the opposite direction. Then instead of becoming vessels of beauty, we become the wood of the cross on which Jesus died, His own turned against Him. Then instead of becoming vessels of beauty, we become rough, ugly, blood-stained wood and our future holds only death. However, if we stay in the workshop and let The Carpenter form us into His vision, we can become those vessels of beauty and utility, bringing light and life into the world, fulfilling our mission in life, and helping others also become wood in The Carpenter’s hands and take the form He so wants to give them.
Dear Lord, form us into vessels of beauty
To shine with Your light and perform our duty
As the salt and the light of the earth.
Carve us and shape us into Your vision,
Help us carry out our life’s calling and mission,
Give us strength and love, give us life and new birth.