Be Inspired! The Old Carpenter


I’m adding this new inspiration series to my blog and podcasts because it was such a hit when I did it in person at one of my client’s monthly trainings per his request. It is faith-based but regardless of faith, you will be inspired!

The Old Carpenter

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire.He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife, enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was very sorry to see one of his most treasured workers go. Yet, he asked if the carpenter could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. 

He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. His heart was not in his work, and it showed. It was a very unfortunate way to end his career.

After the carpenter had finished his work, the builder came to inspect the house. Surprisingly, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter.

"This is your house," he said, "My gift to you." 

What a shock! What a shame!

If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

Is this not also "our story?"

We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than preparing, unwilling to pay the price for excellence.

At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created. We "wake up" to find that we are now living in "the house that we have built." If we’d had that realization, we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your life as "the house." Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall.  Build wisely! It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity.  

Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today!


"But let each man take heed how he builds upon it. But if anyone builds upon the foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, stubble, The work of each will become manifest; for the day will declare it, because it is revealed by fire, and the fire itself will prove each one's work, of what sort it is." 1 Cor. 3:10, 12-13

Sometimes we go through really difficult times in life. It’s the “fire storms” of life that expose what materials we’ve been using to build our lives, our relationships, and our labor. Fire PROVES or is the EVIDENCE of your work. 

The results of poor building materials—choices, attitudes, ethics—show themselves in:

  1. Ruined relationships

  2. Financial strain

  3. Job loss

  4. Poor health

  5. Lack of peace

Jesus said that if we build our house on the sand, when the stormy waves come, our house will crash. But if we build our house on the Rock, which is Him and His teachings, we might feel the waves hitting but our house will stand strong. 

Until then (the end of the age), there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful price for which you run. 1 Cor. 13:13.

Jesus brought all His teachings into one single focus:

  1. Love God

  2. Love yourself

  3. Love others

And they must be in that order. Love for God is not simply affection for Him. It’s doing what He says. Next you must love yourself because it’s IMPOSSIBLE to love others if you don’t yourself. Your unhappiness will intentionally and unintentionally be weaponized and wound those that love you. 

I want to encourage you to examine your life, your work, your personal relationships, how you care for your body and look for the areas that were built on sand. Learn from the mistakes, examine what Jesus says about those things, and accept responsibility. Look for statements and phrases others have repeatedly made because those are usually clues of habitual reactions that are harming you and others. I guarantee you that these habits were formed from believing a lie.

Some of your current circumstances are your responsibility and some are another’s. You can’t fix people and take on what they should fix. You are only responsible for you.  

Sherri Wilson