It has always fascinated me how our sense of smell can evoke the most fantastic imagery and can allow our minds to transport us in that moment to places remote in our memory. Such was the case with me just a few Saturdays ago while perusing the aisles of the local home improvement store. The moment became an opportunity for God to speak to me, and enrich my soul.
Our Special Saturday Place
The sweet smell of freshly cut lumber permeated the air, and I pictured the mound of soft, golden, fluff of sawdust on the floor. I paused to breathe in the pleasant aroma and listen to the sound of the saw. Instantly I became that little girl again, with her tiny hand in her Daddy’s big, strong one; and we were off to spend our special time together, just he and I, talking and enjoying being together. It was our special Saturday place, and we loved it!
I languished in the moment of sweetest reflection, realizing that was probably where my love of projects came from. (Thus, the reason I was at the home improvement store in the first place.) A smile came across my face as I remembered the last time my Dad and I “snuck- away” to our special place together!
He was a wise and practical man, always full of stories from his own boyhood days growing up, and the school-of-hard-knocks kind of life lessons he liked to share. He was a fantastic story-teller, drawing you in with the richness of descriptive
detail, and somehow always ending with a “take-away” for personal application. Suddenly, I felt an overwhelming presence, His presence! Yes, that of my heavenly Father. I was hit awe-struck with an amazing awareness!
Being a carpenter by trade, Jesus too loved a good project! He could appreciate my love and enjoyment of the “lumber yard”, the smell of sawdust, and the teachable moments alone with His father! I could only imagine how many special moments He and Joseph had shared in the carpenter’s shop, Jesus learning as Joseph shared his own wise and practical stories, or demonstrated a valuable skill. I was captivated by this awareness and it intrigued me. Almost as if Jesus literally took my hand in His, He had my full attention! My heart listened intently as we strolled the store together, He and I. I felt the acknowledgment of my desire to “keep busy” and to put my hands to use. I understood that He is more than aware of my love to create things of beauty, to fashion, repurpose, renew, and restore because He does too!
Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
I felt challenged in my heart, remembering that our Father desires to abundantly bless the work of our hands. (Deut. 28:12) Whatever we set our hands to do, “we are to do it wholeheartedly as unto the Lord.” (Colossians 3:23) It is our Father who has provided us the resources, the talents, skills, abilities, and intellect to be able to “create” things – to “do”. He has equipped us for “doing”. Hebrews 13:21 says this, “…may (He) equip you with every good thing to do His will. And may He accomplish in us what is pleasing in his sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
While reminded that day of Jesus’ carpentry skills and love of a good project, I also recalled His message of purpose. Bringing to my remembrance the words He spoke when chided by His parents for not being where they thought He should be, Jesus directed my focus. (Luke 2:49) “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” So I asked myself, “What was it that I was busying myself to do?” And there, in “our special place” I once again found myself being taught something of significance by my Father.
I have long-since known that without the right tools, you cannot do a project well. The right tools make the job easier, and the work more efficient. There is one basic tool that is quite fascinating particularly to a child, and so it was with the younger me. Created in the 1600s by a French scientist, it is called the Spirit Level. This traditional carpenter’s level looks like a short plank of wood. It is wide in body to assure stability. Found in the center of the plank is a small window which houses a tube containing a colored liquid (usual alcohol) or “spirit”; there, a bubble forms when the vial or tube is left unfilled entirely. The slightly upward curvature of the vial causes the bubble to rest in the center, its highest point. When at the center, the bubble is indicative of being horizontally and vertically level. So it is with us!
By design, we are to be filled with the “Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). That is our means of indicating whether or not we are level. If we are not “turned upward” in our thinking and purpose then we are not able to produce effectively. We are at our highest point when we are centered on HIM! A life out-of-balance will not produce with the desired integrity and beauty of our Father carpenters craftsmanship. (You can read more about finding a well-balanced life in Ecclesiastes 4:4 – 5:7).
So, measure twice, cut once; righty-tighty, lefty-loosy; read the directions first; gather your materials before you begin; never leave a project unfinished; take care of your tools and they’ll take care of you, and so the instructional list of “how-to’s” goes on. The end result is an artful masterpiece, a labor of love, a complete and beautiful piece of work! Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Oh, that I would resemble the kind of craftsman that my Father is; to have hands that are about His work, to do everything with excellence, to be fully equipped by Him for every good work, to experience His favor and blessing upon all that I do, and to learn by His example!
When was the last time you made a visit to the Carpenter’s woodshop, a lumber yard, or home improvement store? You can find Him there! I think it is one of His special places! He will meet you there, stroll the aisles with you hand-in-hand, and maybe tell you a story about when He was a boy. He’ll share bits of wisdom, a life-lesson or two, and He’ll tell you how
proud He is of His creation, His project, His workmanship, YOU!
Read also: A date with Jesus