Whenever my friends come over to my house, it is inevitable that someone will make a joke about my coffee table. The jokes are usually accompanied by looks of terror painted on the faces of those attempting to use the table to hold spill-able objects like coffee, or dinner (silly us). You see, by the looks of it, the coffee table is great. It possesses all the necessary components for a successful table. It has a flat surface, four legs, screws to hold it all together, succulents and kinfolk magazine (for style). It is great for pictures and no sudden movements. However, there is one fundamental flaw in the table’s design and construction: I made it.
February of this year I decided to make this table. I had a few pallets, a 4x6, a few brackets and screws. I was feeling ambitious and started designing it. I had all the best intentions, measuring twice, cutting once (thanks dad) and all was going well until I started sawing through post number 3. I was using a hand saw and took my eyes off the board for less than a second. When I looked back, the saw had cut through a few layers of the skin at the base of my thumb. The cut was deep, but not deep enough to merit a trip to the hospital. I super glued it, bandaged it, wrapped it in duct tape, and called it good. Its been seven months since then, and now I have this crazy looking scar to remind me of this table forever.
Its been quite a while since the creation of this table. I have made some small improvements to it over the passing months. Still, with all the work I have put into it, the lack of skill shines through in its function. Daily I sit at this table, place my coffee on it and am reminded of how faulty it is. This table reminds me of most things I have done in my life. Starting out with good intentions, but ultimately faulty in their design and execution. Further I realize that my intentions in the first place were and are just as wobbly as my coffee table.
I then do the math in my head and stack up good things that I have done in my head like they somehow make me something. If what I have done, or what I have made make me who I am, then I am nobody. Moreover, by my own hands I am faulty, shaky, wobbly, not useful. I am not a carpenter, I am not a musician, I am not a photographer, I am not a writer, really I am nothing.
If I am anything, I am justified.
Ironically, I am justified by a carpenter from Galilee that walked on this earth 2,000 years ago. Today, I am so thankful that who I am is not defined by what I create, what I have accomplished or how well I can make a coffee table.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoiced in hope of the glory of God.”
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”