How many lives can one toolbox build?

“When I broke the five loaves to share among five thousand, how many basketfuls of leftover pieces did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they replied. (Mark 8:19)

I recently learned about a remarkable man in the city where I work. He’s a skilled carpenter by trade, and a Christian by faith. And he wanted to use his skills in some way to improve the lives of others … but he was just one guy, with one guy’s small financial resources and one guy’s tool box.

His small savings were enough to buy two foreclosed homes. And he had enough experience to supervise a small crew. So he hired a couple of ex-cons who needed some work experience if they were ever going to get “real” jobs. And he started their training.

By the time those two homes were market-ready, so were the ex-cons. The carpenter could recommend them as carpenter’s apprentices. And with the profits from the sale of those homes, he bought a couple more homes and employed a couple more ex-cons.

It’s a few years down the line now and with no fanfare whatever, two dozen ex-cons have been trained to become carpenter’s apprentices. Just because one carpenter has been doing what the one Carpenter told him to do with his carpentry skills.

Just five loaves and a few small fishes. What will God do if you share yours?

God made Christians for: Accomplishing a lot with what seems like not much at all.

Have you seen God make something small into something bigger than you ever imagined possible?

Copyright © 2009 – 2014 Carlene Hill Byron


About Carlene Byron

Writer, editor, publicist, communications project manager ... I've written technology and infrastructure; I used to edit New England Church Life and The New England Christian and I've freelanced to publications ranging from Commonweal to Christianity Today. I'm now living in my hometown in Maine and am speaking about global perspectives on suicide prevention.
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