I read a quote by Reinhard Bonke the other day that got my wheels turning. I thought it was great so I re-posted it on Facebook. But the way my wheels began to turn this morning was a spin off, in a way, of what the quote actually stated. Here’s what he said:
“Is there a price to pay for the gifts of the Spirit? If there is, they would not be gifts, but purchases. Nevertheless, there well may be a price to pay in their use. A complete tool kit may be a marvelous gift for a carpenter, but it would be useless without the sweat of his brow. Gifts are for givers. To get, give!”
It is such a weighty statement and its intended meaning is vital to our understanding and growth as children of God. But for now my thoughts are on this one part:
“A complete tool kit may be a marvelous gift for a carpenter, but it would be useless without the sweat of his brow.”
I am a carpenter so I know a thing or two about tools. I use them constantly and I understand their strengths and weaknesses, their abilities and their dangers. To use certain tools improperly can be deadly.
But what makes a carpenter? If I were to give all of my tools to someone would that make them a carpenter? They certainly would have the proper gifting. What if that person began to cut lots of wood and hammer lots of nails, would that qualify them as a carpenter? Let’s say they took the very tools intended to build, create and bless and used them only to cut down, remove and destroy. It is obviously possible to use the tools for this purpose but let’s stick with the question at hand, would they be considered a carpenter if they only used their gift in this manner?
What makes a carpenter?
I find it wonderfully interesting that Jesus was a carpenter. It’s just perfect. There is no other occupation that could have better suited the one sent to be our Savior and King. Let me explain.
You are not a carpenter because you have the right tools. You are not a carpenter because you cut wood and hammer nails. You are certainly not a carpenter because you are excellent at cutting down, removing and destroying alone.
You are a carpenter when you begin to take pieces of wood that do not seem to have a purpose and beauty of their own and you see in them their potential and so you shape them, fit them together and create something for a purpose from these scattered pieces that did not exist prior. Carpentry is creating.
Do you see why being a carpenter was the perfect occupation for Jesus?
All you and I have to offer are the scattered pieces of our lives but it is to a Master carpenter that we surrender. What I have found in my work of renovating homes is that often you have to begin the work of renovation by first removing what is old before you can begin to build the desired outcome. Often, the person has to realize that what they currently have doesn’t compare to the beauty of what could be if they are willing to trust the skilled carpenter to tear out the old and begin anew, building what before was nonexistent.
How silly would it be for me as the renovator to come into someone’s home expecting them to have the work completed? I go in knowing that there is a mess or problem for me to address, it’s why I’ve been called. It’s humorous to me how many times a homeowner has apologized to me for the problem that they have. But we do this to ourselves in our walk with Christ. The enemy and religion have gotten us to believe that we need to “fix the place up a little” before we come to Jesus. Before he will love us and bless us with gifts and purpose. But this is the opposite of the truth.
All Jesus asks is that we come to him. Fully trust him as the carpenter. Come to him and tell him all that is wrong and allow him to begin the renovation process. And trust me, what he sees as possible for you far exceeds your greatest hope and desire for yourself. Remember, he’s the Master designer, creator, carpenter and friend.
Very often I tell the anxious homeowners that I work for some version of this speech, “Listen, it’s going to be great, I promise. This is what I do and I love it. You can rest easy through this whole process. I’ll communicate with you every day on how things are going. You rest and I’ll take care of everything else. If I need anything, I’ll let you know”.
What did Jesus say to us? “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
There is a great work that Jesus wants to do in us. Greater and deeper than what we can yet see and understand. Come to him fully and surrender to his plan. It’s not as scary as it feels and it’s more important than we realize. Jesus said, ‘come to me and I will give you rest’. No matter what you know of Jesus, you need to know this, and I mean KNOW it. Jesus is peace. Peace is the foundation of everything that he has for you. His work in you is perfect and vital and always deep. Invite the carpenter in, give him full creative control and be at peace.