The Carpenter’s Trade

Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. (Mark 6:3 NIV)

Brick chimney.Up on a Tennessee Roof

In my 20s, I spent a week re-shingling a roof in Tennessee.  The Mountain T.O.P. ministry staff formed us into 5 teams, with each team containing people at different skill levels.  My level?  Clueless, but willing.

Learning How to Hammer a Nail

My team leader’s first lesson?  How to hammer a nail effectively.  My second lesson?  Getting up on a roof with ease.  All week long, I learned new skills.   Ripping up old shingles and tar paper.  Carrying things up a ladder.   Getting safely off the roof. Nailing down new shingles. A professional roofer traveled between the 5 houses, laying down chalk lines, inspecting the work, and making sure the repairs were done right.

My Chimney Crisis

On the third day, my team leader handed me a hammer and a chisel.  Pointing at the chimney, he told me to chisel off the ancient, hardened tar around it.  My mind immediately foresaw disaster. What if my chisel slipped? I could damage the chimney or put a hole in the roof.  I looked at my team leader and said, “You can fix anything I break, right?”  Calmly confident, he replied, “Yes I can.”  So I went out and hammered on that chimney hard, until all the tar was gone.

A man posing as a carpenter in ancient Israel.

Jesus’ Carpentry

After a week, my amateur roofing career ended. But Jesus labored as a carpenter for years. In biblical times carpenters built everything, from chests, doors and tables, to wooden beams for houses and yokes for farmers. Jesus also would have repaired broken doors and chair legs. Today restoring people is His specialty.

A New Spiritual Insight

On that rooftop in Tennessee, God placed a new truth in my heart: “The Lord can fix anything I break.”  Sometimes I can be distracted, thoughtless, impatient and self-centered, wounding people I love and damaging key relationships. Fortunately, I know who can fix it. Through prayer, my Redeemer starts working in my heart and theirs. He builds a bridge between us. Someone—usually me—sends a God-prompted e-mail or makes a phone call. Then Jesus fixes what I broke.

Just pray and place your messes in His hands. Let the Master Carpenter work.


My devotion “The Carpenter’s Trade” is republished on this blog by permission of Christian Devotions, a website featuring a different author’s devotion each day. Here’s the link to

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