Rustlings (October 17, 2016)

I have been graced and gifted beyond what I deserve. And I’m grateful beyond my capacity to convey thanks.

Months ago while traveling in Sonoma, California, I wandered into a furniture store. I don’t usually wander into furniture stores, but this one was different. The storefront window and signage indicated all their pieces were constructed of naturally fallen trees. To be environmentally conscious, they purchase trees that have naturally fallen, saw them into lumber and create furniture that is as artistic as it is functional. I immediately fell in love with a desk there, returned to Greenville and began researching how to pay for such an item. (I have desired to put ‘my fingerprint’ on my office since arriving at FBG but just haven’t found the money or time.) Jenna – who knows all things and all people – told me I did not need to purchase the desk from California. A member of our church is an artisan in the realm of furniture construction and, in fact, works with naturally fallen trees.

Last week, a beautiful desk was delivered to my rearranged office. The primary wood is black walnut – my choice of a native variety. Our local artisan also included other woods to enhance the beauty and biblical significance of the desk. It includes olive wood native to Israel (the homeland of our faith) but shipped from Italy (the motherland of Christendom). Cedar also adorns the desktop – a wood used in the construction of the first temple of Solomon. Joints were secured with wooden pins made of acacia wood – a tree native to Africa and from which the Ark of the Covenant was made. The desk is a beautiful piece of art that will meaningfully function as the perfect place for writing future sermons, books and articles.

Open house begins immediately. As always, my office door is open. I’d love to show you this new addition to my workspace. And I’ll even share with you the name of the one who shaped and shared it. This gift is added to the many books, cards, meals, flowers and other tokens of love and appreciation you’ve shared with me. Like I said, I’m more graced and gifted than I deserve and more grateful than I can convey.

— Jim