Last October we were camping with the Garrisi family, and I saw my brother in law walking toward the fire with what looked like an oversized 2×4. Grabbing it out of his hand, the weight of it let me know that it wasn’t pine. Upon further inspection it was rough sawn red oak about 2″ by about 3.5″. Even better, it was a straight grained clear block with the grain running across the width.
I smuggled it home, took it over to my friend’s shop, and re-sawed it down to 1/2″ ish thick boards. (since the grain was running across the width, re-sawing it 90′ yielded nice quater-sawn pieces). I set these aside in my shop for about 3 months. Recently I took the boards, dovetailed the corners, cut the grooves for the plywood bottom, and drilled/rounded out some finger holds for carrying handles. Bad-da-bing a tea tray!
Since this came from firewood, I only thought it fit to try out a torched finish on it. Using another friend’s blowtorch (woodworkers are very social creatures you know), I gave it the burnt-hombre look. After 4 coats of shellac and some wax, I’m amazed at the depth of color captured in the black to blonde spectrum in the wood.
Then, sitting in church this Sunday, I was struck by the though that this simple tea tray is a metaphor for what God does in us. Some of us are sawn at a young age into boards and set aside for furniture (yes, in this metaphor, we are the wood). However, some of us are rejected and labeled as worthless, except to be burned. But what God does is he takes that worthless log, sees the value in us. With His knowledge of our properties, He shapes us (sometimes with blades btw), refines us, and turns us into something great. Like the tea tray, we sometimes wear the scars of the fire. But He uses our scars as features to reach those only we with our experiences could. He takes people the world has rejected, turns them around, and makes them useful to serve others.
So there you go… a little bit of theology from a tea tray.