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The Carpenter’s Workshop


Today it was my turn to provide a story for Toddlers’ church. For the last year or so, we’ve been looking at the theme of ‘all shapes and sizes’. We’ve done easy shapes, like circles and squares, harder ones like kites and cones and even into the complex, like ‘frustrum to balance’. No torus though, which was a missed opportunity! Anyway, here is the story I wrote to wrap up with the idea that we need all shapes and sizes working together, so I hope you are sitting comfortably:

Have you ever been in a woodworkers workshop? Depending on how tidy they are, it might have some sawdust on the floor but there is bound to be some wood (all sorts of planks and sheets and odd little offcuts), some fastenings (nails, pins, screws and more) and lots and lots of tools.

I’m not brilliant at woodworking but I’ve got a little shed with all sorts of tools. I’ve got power tools, like a circular saw and a router. I’ve got cordless tools, like a drill and an impact driver. I’ve got hand tools, like screwdrivers and hammers and chisels and more saws. I haven’t got all the tools but I’ve got plenty of them and each one is made for certain things.

I wonder how they feel when they are left alone in the shed, put away in their bags and boxes or hung up on their hooks and racks? Each one is different. I wonder if they are a bit like people, tempted to bemoan all the things they can’t do? “Oh,” says the hammer, “I wish I could make holes in wood like old drill there. The best I can do is make an ugly dent.” “Oh,” says the screwdriver, “look at how the chisel transforms the wood. He’s sharp and I’m so dull. I just go round and round and round.”

One day, the carpenter came into his workshop. He used saws and planes to get his boards flat and true and cut to length. He used a router and chisels to cut out carefully measured slots. The drill made some excellent holes and that made the job much easier for the screwdriver, joining pieces together with screws without them splitting. Even the hammer came out, knocking in pins to hold on the back panel.

The carpenter knew how inadequate and limited his tools felt. As he cleaned each one and put it away, he paused and said thank you. “Thank you chisel and drill. Thank you screwdriver and hammer”. And then, before he finished for the day, he said, “Thank you all for working together. I’ve worked with each one of you on the tasks you were made to do and together we have made this beautiful bookcase, strong and sturdy and ready to hold all sorts of wisdom and knowledge. None of you could have made this on your own but, together, look what we have done.”

The carpenter smiled, turned off the light and shut the door. And, that night, each of the tools slept with a smile on its face, knowing it was made differently because they were all made to work together.

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