Far away in a distant place, not so very long ago, a wandering lad came upon an ancient workshop. The light glowing through the window drew him close, and a look through the glass revealed an aged tinker, immersed in his work.
Without looking up, the tinker offered words of welcome. “The door is open. Please, come in.”
The boy did, of course, for he was naturally curious, and once inside, he couldn’t help looking around. “What is this place?”
The tinker turned his head and peered at the visitor, then stood upright and addressed him. “You may call me Jacob. And you are…?”
“Oh… I’m Sammy.”
“Well, then.” The kindly old man looked about the room, then turned back. “This… place... is where I find myself much of the time. The need… is never-ending.”
Sammy’s puzzled expression deepened, so Jacob elaborated. “The Word has gone forth, and produced a great harvest. Multitudes have become new creations in Christ, and every one of them receives a new heart. I… am the only supplier.” His arms swung wide, with open hands directing the boy’s gaze toward a well-used workbench. It was lined with bins, each bearing a different label.
“Let me continue my work while we visit. This one will be required soon.” Jacob then reached into the two largest bins, labeled Repentance and Faith, withdrawing a goodly portion of a clay-like substance from each. His skillful hands proceeded to knead them together until they became one.
“This is the only blend that works. As it matures, the two ingredients will develop into righteousness.” As he spoke, the craftsman painstakingly fashioned the lump into a lovely and unique shape, but then pressed his thumbs into the form, leaving several impressions of various sizes.
Sammy gasped. “Why have you spoiled it with all these pits?”
“Watch,” was all Jacob said, but he reached into a bin labeled “Love” and pinched off a seed-sized bit. Rolling it between his palms until it was smooth, he placed it into one of the holes.
Sammy followed Jacob’s every move as he continued to fill the pits with seeds of Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, and Temperance.
Then a new thought worried Sammy. “The holes are large. Why must the seeds be so small?”
“Oh, each seed must have plenty of room, for they are meant to grow and produce fruit.” Just at that time, a ray of sunlight from the window fell upon the finished work, as if to bless the potential it held. It was a splendid sight indeed, for the tinkerer was truly a master craftsman.
It was then the boy noticed another workbench. Mounds of sorry-looking hearts covered its surface. “Oh! What about those?” he cried.
Compassion filled Jacob’s face. “Those are all damaged, but have finally come back to me.” He fingered the pieces of a shattered heart. “They can be mended, but it is a long and complicated process.”
Sammy stared at the devastated, hardened, and bitter hearts. “How could such horrible things happen?”
“The warning issued with every new heart went unheeded.” Jacob pointed towards a stack of flyers, and recited, “Keep your heart with all diligence: for out of it are the issues of life.”
Sammy’s brow wrinkled as he tried to understand. “But… how do you do that?”
“Well, my son, you simply put on the whole armor of God!”
“Of course. Even fiery darts can’t penetrate shields of faith. Lies can’t get to you if you’re girded about with truth. Your helmet of salvation will protect your eternal destiny, and the sword of the Spirit will slay the most menacing beast. You do know that your adversary, the devil, prowls about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, don’t you?”
“Sure. Every boy knows about that ol’ troublemaker. He’s sure got it in for me, too…” Just for a moment, the boy paused. “That armor you were talking about… that’ll protect me from the devil, right?”
“Well, I’m thinking that’s something I could use. But, it sounds like what I need first is one of those “new” hearts.”
Jacob’s face lit up, and he and Sammy settled into seats by the window and conducted some important business. That day, the young boy surrendered his heart to the old artisan, accepting a brand new one in its place, and a brilliant ray of sunshine shone down upon him, revealing amazing potential, newly born.
All references to scripture are from the KJV.
Fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5: 22-23
Whole armor of God: Ephesians 6: 12-18
Your adversary: 1Peter 5: 8
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