Why I Woodwork

I’ve been in my shop today, making stepstools. It’s been a good day, and I’ve been reminded of several reasons why I love to work with wood.

1. I love the smell and feel of wood and sawdust. I do wear a dust mask so that I don’t ingest microscopic wood particles, but I can still smell the oak or pine or cedar or cypress. God is good to create smells like these!

2. I love being able to see something to completion. So much of my vocation, gospel ministry, is always a work in progress. God is perfecting the good work He has begun in people until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6), and I am an instrument in that work, therefore my work is never finished until the day of Jesus Christ – helping people grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ, and helping my church to grow in its love for one another and its knowledge of God’s word and its heart for the lost. In addition to this ongoing pastoral ministry, every week I preach sermons that didn’t get as much preparation as I would have liked to have given them. So it’s nice to be able to come into the woodshop and finish a project, giving it as much attention as it needs, and be able to enjoy the works of my hands: “It is good.”

3. I love working with my hands. “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with you hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need” (I Thess. 3:11-12). Again, woodworking is a counterpoint to my vocation. I work with people, with books, with computers. Therefore it’s nice to come in to the shop and know that I could cut my fingers off in a milli-second. It’s nice to get callouses, scrapes and cuts; to lift big pieces of wood; to use hand tools and power tools to shape wood.

4. I love being able to be creative. I don’t consider myself the most creative person in the world, though I do create at least two works of art each week in my Sunday morning and evening sermons (at least, I hope there’s a level of creativity and artistry in them!). But in the woodshop I get to be inventive, thoughtful, and creative on a different level. To be sure, most of the things I’ve built are according to some plan, so it feels more like putting together legos than sitting down with a blank piece of paper. But plans never come out exactly as they’re written, so the right side of my brain is working in the shop.

5. I love using mathematics in real life. I was a math major, so it’s nice to get to play with fractions in the woodshop. Eights and sixteenths and thirty-seconds, oh my! Don’t forget, measure twice, cut once.

6. I like having in my house things that I’ve built with my own hands: my grill cart, my potting table, my outdoor bookshelf, my outside side table, my stepstools, Elizabeth’s stepstool, my toolbox, my work benches, etc. It’s nice to enjoy the fruit of one’s labor in a very tangible way.

7. I love getting to wear my new overalls.

8. Jesus was a carpenter.

I’m sure there are more, and if you woodwork I’d love to hear your reasons.

SDG,
The Farmer

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One response to this post.

  1. Awesome! Allen showed me this. It is good to find out how y’all are doing. I didn’t know you did woodwork. I share your love for God’s word and woodwork. Check out what we are doing with Peru Mission on our blog and at Parish furniture. I would love to talk about it more with you. Meg says hey with our two children.

    Reply

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