The new apprentice blacksmith was excited. He’d found a master blacksmith to learn from. The master had willingly taken him on as a student. He’d begun to assemble his tools and started showing up every morning at first light when the master started working.
That’s when things fell apart. The master blacksmith had asked him to do a whole series of tasks that had nothing to do with learning how to smith. Cleaning, organizing, running errands. It was all a waste of time. His frustration grew. Didn’t the master know he was here to learn to smith? Day after day passed filled with tasks that felt like busy work.
Finally the day came when he was invited to take up the hammer and begin trying his hand at shaping a fiery red ingot. As he took the hammer in his hand and prepared to swing, the master interrupted. “Not like that,” he said gently. Then placing his hand over the apprentices, he shifted the apprentices grip.
This new grip didn’t feel right. It wasn’t natural! The apprentice thought to himself, in frustration, “Ugh… he wants to teach me how to hold a hammer! When are we going to get to the real work?”
It’s an absurd situation, I’ll admit. If the teacher really is a master blacksmith, we know intuitively that the student needs to just let go of his pride and learn everything he can. If the student is really there to learn, he needs to be willing to trust the direction of the teacher.
Yet this is the way we relate to Jesus most of the time.