The Carpenter

A long, long time ago in a land far from here, two Brothers had lived their lives together as farmers since their childhood. They each had their own houses next door to one another. They shared their properties and produced great crops each year. If one Brother’s crop was not as plentiful, he would share the rewards of his other Brother’s crop. It had been a very successful partnership.

One year, the Brothers began to argue with each other, about something trivial, which turned into very harsh words and a long-time feud. They parted ways and didn’t speak for years. The younger Brother went as far as to re-direct the creek which used to flow around their properties directly between their two farms.

They spent years without speaking, each praying to our Lord that their Brother would repent but neither doing anything to make it so.

One early afternoon hour, the younger Brother heard a knock on his front door. When he opened the it, he found a young man on his doorstep in sandals carrying only a tool sack and water canteen.

The younger Brother asked him what he could do for him. “Sir, I am a carpenter by trade and was wondering if you might have any work I could do to earn some wages for food.” The younger Brother thought for a moment, and said, “I am sorry but I’ve no need of work today. You look tired though… please, let me give you something to eat and give you energy for your journey.”

After the young man ate, the younger Brother said, “If you still need work, I might suggest you ask my older Brother. He lives across from me but you will have to walk around our properties as the creek is deep and wide which separates our land.”

The young carpenter thanked the younger Brother for the meal and made his way around the properties to the older Brother’s house. It was quite a way and it had become near dark. Nonetheless, he made the journey and knocked on the older Brother’s door.

“What can I do for you?” asked the older Brother as he answered the door. “Sir, I am a carpenter and in need of work. Is there anything you would have me do that I might earn some wages?”

The older Brother thought for a while and then said, “I will think on this, but first, the day is nearly done…. Why don’t you sleep here and I will think on what I might have you do for me.”

The young carpenter gladly accepted the offer and went to sleep in an upstairs room in the older Brother’s house. When he awoke, the older Brother met with him, after thinking of what he might do.

“Son, do you see that pile of wood next to my barn? I’d like you to take that and build a fence for me. You see my Brother has re-directed that creek over there to separate himself from me. I’d like you to build the fence, 10-feet high, so I never have to look on him again!”

The young man looked at the wood and then looked in his tool sack. “I see.” he replied, “Sir, I am sure I could build that fence but I am not certain I have all the tools I would need.” To which the older Brother replied, “That won’t be a problem. Please, feel free to take all that you need from my barn.”

The young man nodded, finished drinking the water the older Brother had given him, and set to his task. The older Brother went back in his house grinning at his great idea. How angry this would make his Brother. This will pay him back!

Noontime came around and the older Brother made a couple of sandwiches, poured some cold water in a jar and took them out to the young carpenter. He saw that he had cut all the wood perfectly Obviously measuring twice and cutting once to ensure no mistakes.

“You have done a fine job young man. Here is something to eat and drink to help you to finish the job. How much longer do you think you will need?” The carpenter looked at the pile of wood and replied “Oh, I’m nearly done sir. I should finish your task in a few short hours.”

Again, sheepishly grinning as he knew his Brother’s response would be in anger, he said “You take your time son. I’ve got some errands to run in the village and should be back about nightfall.” The carpenter said nothing but, smiled and went about his work.

Now, it was just about Sunset and the older Brother was nearing his farm. He saw the carpenter putting away his tools and sitting on a stump drinking his water. Next, he was startled! Where he looked expecting to see a great fence, he saw instead, a long wooden bridge crossing the creek that had separated the two Brother’s properties! It was a beautiful bridge… extremely well crafted.

“What have you done? I asked you to build be a fence between us! Instead, you have built a bridge!” Before he finished speaking, the younger Brother approached the bridge. His face was gleaming with radiance. He then ran across the bridge, embraced his Brother with tears in his eyes and said…

“Brother, for so long now I have been angry with you. I had been foolish in my ways and stubborn to relent in my anger. But you, my beloved Brother, have built us a bridge to connect us once again! Forgive my ignorance Brother and accept my apologies for, truly, you Love me and wanted us back together once more!”

The older Brother, now humbled and ashamed, began to weep as well and held his younger Brother even tighter. They both cried tears of joy for what seemed an hour, each wiping the tears from each other’s face. “I do Love you Brother and I am so happy our battles have ended!”

They both turned to the carpenter who had just sat, drinking his water and watching the two reunite. “Son, you have done a great thing here today. How much shall we pay you for your efforts?”

The young carpenter set his jar of water on the ground and stood to his feet. He walked towards the Brothers who stood holding each other and placed his hand on their shoulders.

“My good sirs, you have shown me kindness and generosity by welcoming me onto your properties. You fed me when I was hungry. Gave me water when I thirsted… and I slept within your home. This kindness and generosity, as well as your Love and forgiveness for one another, as surely paid your debt.”

Again, the Brothers wept with tears of joy. “Thank you dearly young man. We shall forever remember this day. Please let us know your name and who you are that we might never forget what you have done for us this day.”

The young man threw his tool sack over his shoulder, turned towards the Sunset and began walking away and said, “My name is Jesus from Nazareth, I’m just a carpenter, and God has blest you this day.”

Moral: Our anger and stubbornness are all too often unwarranted. Sometimes, we simply need to ask our Lord to help us forgive and get past them for, as you can see, He will clearly help us as only He can, not necessarily giving us what we want… but what we need.