THE USELESS TREE

A carpenter and his apprentice were walking together through a large forest. And when they came across a tall, huge, gnarled, old, beautiful oak tree, the carpenter asked his apprentice: “Do you know why this tree is so tall, so huge, so gnarled, so old and beautiful?” The apprentice looked at his master and said: “No…why?”

“Well,” the carpenter said, “because it is useless. If it had been useful it would have been cut long ago and made into tables and chairs, but because it is useless it could grow so tall and so beautiful that you can sit in its shade and relax.”

Source: Henri NouwenOut of Solitude
(Ave Maria Press, 1974, 2004), pages 26-27

CONSIDER THIS

The world says, “If you are not making good use of your time, you are useless.” Jesus says: “Come spend some useless time with me.” If we think about prayer in terms of its usefulness to us—what prayer will do for us, what spiritual benefits we will gain, what insights we will gain, what divine presence we may feel—God cannot easily speak to us. But if we can detach ourselves from the idea of the usefulness of prayer and the results of prayer, we become free to “waste” a precious hour with God in prayer. Gradually, we may find, our “useless” time will transform us, and everything around us will be different.

Prayer is being unbusy with God instead of being busy with other things. Prayer is primarily to do nothing useful or productive in the presence of God.

From Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit (pages 17, 18).

 

 

THE ABSENT CARPENTER

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire.  He told his employer of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family.  He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire.  They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor.  The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work.  He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials.  It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work the employer came to inspect the house.  He handed the front-door key to the carpenter.  “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”   The carpenter was shocked!  What a shame!  If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

Source | Belief Net

PONDER AND CONSIDER

So it is with each one of us.  We build our lives, one day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then with shock we realize we have to live in the house we have built. You are the carpenter.  Every single day you hammer a nail, place a board, erect a wall, fit a carpet.

As a wise person once suggested, “Life is a do-it-yourself project.”  Your attitudes and the choices you make today, build the “house” you live in tomorrow.

 

 

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