What would you do if you returned home from war wounded, orphaned, and unsure how you could earn a living? I recently read of a man who faced just this situation–and “his wounds rendered all severe labor impossible.” (The Little Lamb, p. 115) What was he to do?
In Christoph von Schmid’s short story, The Redbreast, we are told that this soldier determined the following solution to his dilemma:
“One day, in the neighboring forest, he remarked that the old stumps and roots of the maple-trees that had been cut down presented some very beautiful pieces of streaked and variegated wood, but were little esteemed and rotting on the ground. He immediately set to work to make walking sticks and gift boxes out of this wood, and soon brought them to extraordinary perfection; the walking sticks . . . were especially admired, and met with a rapid sale.” (p. 116)
What an incredible testimony to this man’s work ethic and creativity that he would take sticks which would ordinarily be left to rot and turn them into walking sticks for “gentlemen of high station!” (p. 116)
We live in an economy where many are struggling. Perhaps we should begin to prayerfully consider how we can exercise skills that God has given us as gifts. Truly, “in all labor there is profit” (Proverbs 14:23b) and “whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” (Proverbs 13:11b)
In closing, I believe the stick-crafter’s words will end this moment on an encouraging note: “He who is not wanting in industry . . . will never want for bread. Even the most insignificant craft can support a man. Do your duty faithfully, and trust in God, and God will do His part, and will not permit you to lack His aid, which is so necessary.” (p. 117-118)
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