They were silent now in the dark, but the flurry of questions and the litany of complaints brooded in the air around them like the smoke and the sparks of their campfire. Everyone was ready to get on with the revolution, with the coming of the Kingdom here and now, and he didn’t seem the least bit interested. He let the silence stay for a moment longer until at last he spoke.
“My Dad was a carpenter. I remember being in his workshop when I was a boy. I wanted to make a box for my mother. Something to keep her jewelry in. I was very little, and it was years before I realized she’d never even worn any jewelry, but in my mind she sparkled, so I suppose it made sense to me. In any case, I was very determined.
"So I asked my Dad if he would help me make one. I was so eager to get it made. The second he’d finished squaring off the corner on a little piece of wood, I’d slap it in place and ask for a nail. But he would slow me down at every step. And every time I thought we were finished with each part, he would show me another little detail to take care of. I remember him saying, ‘Slow down, son. We’re not in a hurry.’ He took my fingers and ran them gently across the flat of the wood, and I saw that it needed a little more sanding. So he took my hand and showed me how to sand more finely. Then he’d help me see that a corner wasn’t quite true. He’d crouch down next to me, with his breath on my cheek, and help me line it up just so. Eventually, I stopped just trying to finish the thing, and I started to enjoy the rhythm of creating it. And that’s what it was. Creation. You’d never guess the amount of work that goes into creating something so simple as a wooden box. But I began to notice these little things for myself, and I began to take pleasure in refining them. I remember my Dad so well, saying it in that low old voice of his, ‘Slow and sure, son. Take your time. Steady, slow and sure. We’re building something beautiful here.’ ”
The sound of twelve men in silence is a rare thing, but here it was. The fire popped an ascending spark into the dark sky.
“I’m in no hurry to build this Kingdom, my friends. Time is fleeting, but it’s only time. My Dad in heaven gives it to us as water from a stream, and we receive it so, to refresh us. And we build his Kingdom the way my earthly father helped me build that little box. Slowly. Sure, but slowly. We take care of the details. We love one another. We’re building something beautiful here.”
Thomas spoke up quietly. “Did she like it? The box?”
Jesus smiled. “It’s still sitting on her mantle. Empty, as far as I know, but still sitting on her mantle.”