The Hammer and the Carpenter

Hammer ImageLet me tell you a story.

A master carpenter had a large toolbox full of tools that he loved to use. He knew exactly which tool he needed to produce the results he wanted at each stage of his project. But one day the tools started discussing their jobs and the hammer decided that she didn’t like pounding nails, she liked what the screwdriver did. So the next time the master carpenter took her out to drive a nail into his next masterpiece, she stopped him and said, “I don’t want to pound nails anymore, I want to drive screws, like the screwdriver.” The carpenter said, “But you’re not created for that job. That job is impossible for you.” “I believe in my heart that I can,” said the hammer, so the carpenter put the hammer down and allowed her to attempt to drive screws.

The hammer tried for a long time to do as she believed in heart what she was created to do, but she was never able to accomplish anything. Finally, in frustration and confusion she went back to the carpenter, who had missed her terribly, and asked why she couldn’t accomplish anything she set out to do. “Because you’re trying to do things you are not suited for. You were created to drive the nails that help produce the beautiful masterpieces I create.” “Okay, I give up. I accept that I can’t drive screws, so I’ll go back to driving nails. However, I must be allowed to drive the nails my way, without any help from you.” Again, the carpenter put her down and allowed her do what she believed she could do.

She had some success on her own driving the nails, but it took so long and sometimes the nails just wouldn’t go in. She didn’t understand; she was now doing what she was created to do, so why couldn’t she drive the nails like she was supposed to be able to?

She again returned to the carpenter, who had watched her struggles with great pain of his own, and asked, “I don’t understand. I’m doing what you say I was created to do, but I can’t seem to do it very well. If I’m doing what I was created to do, why can’t I do it with any power?” The carpenter explained, “You were created with precision and care to be used by a master carpenter in his grand design. When I take you out of the toolbox, I know exactly where the nail will go and how much power to apply to drive the nail. I supply the wisdom and the knowledge. In the carpenter’s hand you have all the power you need to accomplish the good works you are created to accomplish. Without my power and wisdom, your ability is weak and limited. You need the creator, and the creator needs you. Together we produce the most beautiful works of form and function. Apart from the carpenter, you can do nothing.”

The hammer thought about that. She had a handle that fit perfectly in the carpenter’s hand. She thought about all the things they had built together, the way he always knew how hard or how gently to hit those nails, the way he always knew exactly where to place the nails to accomplish the most hold. She liked the way she felt when the work was done, like she had accomplished her purpose well. She never experienced that away from the carpenter, only frustration and loss.

She looked at the Carpenter and said, “I surrender to Your will, and to the work You will accomplish through me. Use me for the purpose I was created for, providing Your wisdom and Your power. I trust You to use me, Master Carpenter. Your will be done.”

The Carpenter smiled and picked up a nail. The hammer smiled and in the perfect hands of her Master, she prepared herself for her life’s work. It was Heaven.

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