The Restored Tools
The following story is found in the teacher's comments for this week lesson,
One night, while the carpenter was away, the toolbox opened, and the tools began to discuss their existence and purpose. The screwdriver lamented that she quietly was used and seldom noticed. The saw also was disenchanted with his purpose, noting that other saws had gone on to become musical instruments and did not have to put up with the sawdust. The wrench complained that he outshined many hood ornaments and felt denigrated when used to work with nuts. The hammer boasted that she had the highest pedigree, being crafted of the finest hickory and stainless steel. Why was she subjected to constant contact with the common iron found in nails? Other tools spoke about their superiority or how the carpenter favored them. None, however, wanted to be used for the purpose for which they had been created. Eventually, many tools plotted their escape. In the morning the carpenter noticed that many of his tools were missing. Of course, this slowed his work. Months passed. Gradually, the carpenter found his tools. The hammer was rusty. The saw was dull, and the screwdriver was bent. The wrench never was located. Meanwhile, the carpenter had replaced some of the missing tools but was unwilling to throw the rusty, bent, dull ones away. He painstakingly restored them. One night the tools were overheard. There was sadness over the wrench, who never had come back, but more rejoicing over the carpenter who had restored the others to usefulness.
The story is used as a parable. Each tool represents how we feel about our lives. According to the story, most of us fall in one of the following categories: underused, overused or misused. Like the tools we blame whoever represents the carpenter – boss, parents, teachers, coach, etc. The Jews were no exception.
Like the tools, in the story, the Jews somehow believed that they were underused, overused or misused. They thought that God did not certainly mean for them to deal with Gentiles; indeed God chose them because of their superiority. So they set out to prove, on their own, how superior they were to others. Paul says of them in Romans 10:2-3,
Romans 10: 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
Romans 10:3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Like the tools that ran away and found that they could not live successfully on their own, the Jews found that it was impossible to be righteous. Even so, they deceived themselves by establishing their own standards and rules to enforce those standards. Even then they found that it was impossible for them. So, they created loopholes in their laws so they could bend them while still keeping them. Christ was very stern with them. He said they were like whitewashed tombs (Luke 11:44). They looked beautiful on the outside but only dead inside. Christ also compared them to barren fig trees (Matthew 21:19; Mark 11: 13; Luke 13: 16 – 19). They were looking as if they should have fruit even outside of the harvest season, but not once bearing any fruit. No wonder Christ told the disciples that their righteousness should exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees (Matthew 5: 20).
In Romans 9: Paul contrasted the Jews with the Gentiles who had accepted the knowledge of the Gospel (which the Jews rejected). He says,
Romans 9: 30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
Romans 9: 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Romans 9: 32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
Presented with the Gospel, many Gentiles realized that they were rusted, bent, and dull - something many Jews would not admit to themselves. Those who accepted the Gospel God brought to His "tool shed" where He restored all who accepted the Gospel to their true purpose and proper usefulness. They rejoiced in heartfelt appreciation over "The Carpenter" who rescued them and now cared for them. Slowly "The Carpenter" got rid of the rust on the hammer, sharpened the saw, and straightened the screwdriver. It may have felt painful, but in the end, the "tools" were grateful. Would you be grateful to you "master carpenter" that he chose you to do his great work? What will it take for you to know your Master Carpenter's good and loving character and His caring nature? Again I ask the question: which tool are you? I just pray we are not like the wrench.