Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

Each day our Pastor will post a message to keep us connected while the Church is closed.

Day 53, May 5, 2020
“Wanted: A carpenter’s helper”

We had a Men’s Group in Houston that met every Tuesday morning at 7 am. The group was made up of men from a wide variety of backgrounds. Our conversations were animated and fun. We laughed often, prayed always, and shared ways God was working in our lives. Bob was a member of our group. Bob would usually sit quietly and let the other men have their turn talking. Every once in a while, Bob would speak up. He always began softly and gently, along the lines of, “Well, I was thinking…” One morning we were on the topic of helping others. Right toward the end of the meeting, Bob gave us his warm and wonderful smile, and said, “Did I ever tell you about the time I met Billy Graham?”

Bob started to tell us about a time when he was a young man working as a carpenter’s helper on some construction at Rice Stadium. Rice Stadium was the site of the 1974 Super Bowl in which the Miami Dolphins defeated the Minnesota Vikings. Rice is an old stadium, built in 1950. Though it was old, it was large, capable of holding 70,000 spectators. Bob told us about working on Rice Stadium. Bob was remembering a day some 50 years in the past when Billy Graham had come to Houston to do a big crusade at Rice stadium. Bob asked our group, “Did I ever tell you about the time I met Billy Graham?”

One afternoon as Bob was doing his work as a carpenter’s helper, Billy came to the stadium. Bob said they struck up a conversation. Billy asked, “What does a carpenter’s helper do?” Bob explained all the jobs he did. As they talked, they began to walk around the stadium. Bob showed Billy the projects he was involved in. Bob said the whole time Billy gave him his full attention. Finally, their time was done. Billy Graham thanked Bob and left to return to whatever he was doing to prepare for the crusade.

 Bob stopped telling the story. He looked at us all. Then Bob smiled and said, “I have always found it curious that Billy was so interested in the work of a carpenter’s helper.” I will always remember that morning, because when Bob said that, the room was quiet for a really long time…I mean a really long time. I think we all had the same thought. Bob said he found it curious that Billy Graham was so interested in a carpenter’s helper. Finally, one of the men in the group said what seemed so obvious to all of us, “Bob, don’t you see, that is all Billy Graham is. Billy Graham is nothing but a carpenter’s helper.”

A carpenter’s helper. What a great title for a follower of Jesus. All of us who follow Jesus, we are nothing but a carpenter’s helper. My friend Bob was a carpenter’s helper. When my friend Bob died, I had the great honor of leading his memorial service. I used that phrase about being a carpenter’s helper. Bob truly was a carpenter’s helper. We needed some lines painted in our church parking lot. There was Bob laying on the ground measuring and taping and spraying paint. Bob’s wife told about making many trips to a favorite spot in Colorado. One time on their way home to Houston they were at a rest stop. The back of the car was tightly packed with all their luggage. His wife came to the car and found all the luggage had been unpacked. The luggage was spread all over the ground. Why? Bob had met someone who needed a jump for their battery, and Bob unloaded the whole vehicle to get the jumper cables. Another time while hiking in Colorado they came upon a woman in a wheelchair. Her daughter was pushing her up a steep incline. Bob took over and pushed the wheelchair up the hill until they came to a stopping point where the woman could get the perfect look on a beautiful view. When the sewer line in our back yard broke, I was digging it up to replace it. I heard a friendly voice ask if I could use some help. I looked up. There was Bob, with a shovel, a pick, and a big smile.                

A carpenter’s helper. I am sure there is a specific and exact job description detailing all the aspects of being a carpenter’s helper. But I sure hope it has that famous last line that is on so many job descriptions. “And other duties as assigned.” When you are a true carpenter’s helper, you just never know what other duties will be assigned. We are in a real crisis right now. During a crisis, people need help. Who knows how people need help? It can be in so many ways, ways that are big and small. What an important time to be a carpenter’s helper. What an important time to be a person on the lookout for the ones who are in need, the ones who are lonely, the ones who are hurting, the ones seeking help, the ones desperate for encouragement, the ones who could use a meal or a ride or a prayer. There is plenty of work for each one of us. There is plenty of work for all of us. Whether you are Billy Graham, or my kind-hearted friend named Bob, there is plenty of work for all of us to be a carpenter’s helper. The Carpenter is Jesus. We are his helpers. May we do our job with glad and grateful hearts.

With the love of Christ,