Summary: Preached at a rescue mission; everyone needs a fresh start when we mess up on life-building. It’s not enough to feel guilty, not enough to blame others, not even enough to get new skills. We need the help of the Master Carpenter.
I don’t know anybody who doesn’t need, from time to time, a fresh start. No matter who you are, no matter where you have been, no matter what you are trying to do, you just need, sometimes a fresh start, a new beginning. Trying to fix things the way they are won’t work; you need sometimes to start all over from the beginning.
Several years ago my wife asked me to build some cabinets in our house. The job looked like a piece of cake. There was a nice open space at one end of the room, and all I had to do was build some kind of frame, put a counter top on it, make some shelves over here on the left side and some more over here on the right side, and then put cabinet doors on the front. Easy, right? No problem, done in a flash, right?
Wrong! Wrong! What she failed to tell me was that first, I had to deal with a window in that wall. The window was too small, she said, and so, by the way, while you are building these cabinets, could you also enlarge the window? And, oh yes, when you get the window opened up, how about bookshelves on either side of it, from the ceiling to the new counter top.
Now have you got the picture? I am standing in front of a blank wall of concrete blocks, with one little narrow window up here, and nothing else. Just open up the window and build the cabinet and the shelves.
Well, I started. But, brothers, I started in the wrong place. I started with the cabinet down on the floor. You see, I wanted quick results, and so I started with the thing I thought I could do right away. I built a frame and put some siding on it and laid the counter top out, so that I could step back and say, “Look what I did” and so that the boss – I mean the wife – would applaud and say, “What a good husband I’ve got.” I mean, I like the goodies, right? I like making something I can see and I like having somebody tell me I’m doing well.
But there is more to the story. A whole lot more. After I got the basic cabinet built and the counter top laid, then I decided to start on opening up that window. I knew exactly how to do it, or so I thought. These are just concrete blocks and all I have to do is take out the old window frame, knock out a couple of rows of block, and build a new and larger frame for the larger window. So I got my sledge hammer and went to knock down the wall.
But guess what? I had already built the cabinet and the counter out here, and I was supposed to hammer up here, and I couldn’t get to it. I couldn’t reach the place I was supposed to hit, and even if I did, I was going to trash my new cabinet with broken concrete! I went at things in the wrong order, and messed myself up. So I took apart the cabinet I had just built, so that I could do the window.
Now the story isn’t finished yet. I finally did, by hook and by crook, build a window frame, and went running off to the glass shop to buy a large piece of double strength glass to put in there. Now if you were going to get a piece of glass for a window, what would you need to know first? The size of the opening! You would need to measure first, wouldn’t you? Well, duh. I said, “Oh, they will know how big it should be. Four rows of blocks this way, four blocks that way, they’ll know. And the guy at the glass shop said he did know. He cut it, I paid for it, I brought it home, I went to put it in – what do you think? You are way ahead of me. Too small! About three inches too short! Nothing to do but trudge back to the glass shop, this time with measurements in hand, and buy another big, expensive piece of glass.