Pastor Jim Jackson

Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church

Sometimes being an amateur trumps being a professional. How is it?

The amateur knows that he does not know everything and he begins a project as an adventure in which he risks failing. Without panicking at the possibility of failure, the amateur persists in pursuing his dreams.

The story of Noah might well illustrate what I am trying to say. We understand he was a good man, but nothing is said about his carpentry skills. And even though he was a carpenter, we have no evidence that he ever worked in boat building.

Nor was it a canoe he was building, rather it was a huge sailboat capable of transporting his family safely and who knows how many beasts. We can only imagine how many cuts, bruised fingers and backaches he suffered before the rains came and lifted this ship into a floating posture.

In recent years, I have enjoyed working with wood. I’ve even made furniture that I’m not ashamed of. So much so that our children said, “That’s enough daddy: we don’t have enough room for more.”

Still, I remember my first adventure with a miter saw. It was kind of a wooden box with 45 degree angled slots for a handsaw – no electric motor. My original project was to build new trim for the columns on our porch. I sit on the porch, with all the neighbors as witnesses. So many misfires that I had a nice pile of sawdust on the steps. Eventually I found success, even without having to buy more wood. I looked up to see if any neighbors were celebrating my victory. Bad luck, and luckily no one mentioned my mound of sawdust the size of a fire ant. So this marked the beginning of a productive and enjoyable engagement with wood.