The Blacksmith’s shop was very busy one day, with gears turning, machines whirring, and metal clanging about. The Blacksmith’s face glowed with the light from the fire, his sweat dripping on the anvil where his masterpiece lies.

Lifting his newest masterpiece, the Blacksmith examined every side. On his face was a trace of delight as he beheld his new creation—carefully and perfectly molded according to his design.

The latest tool he made he called “Hammer.” Slowly, he walked toward the other tools he created; Hammer in his hand.

“Chisel, Saw, Knife, and Snips,” the Blacksmith called them by name, “meet Hammer,” he said, as he gently laid it down beside the other tools.

After a little while, the Blacksmith packed his bag and went out of the shop to take a tour around town.

As the door of the shop clicked, the tools suddenly came alive—eyes slowly opening, little mouths yawning—and they started interrogating Hammer, the newest addition to their gang.

“So, what are you?” said Snips, the sharp-tongued tool that the Blacksmith uses to cut metal tins.

“Uhh, I’m Hammer. I’m new here, and I don’t know yet what I’m here for,” he stuttered.

Joining the conversation, young Chisel boy jumped in and poked Hammer.

“Hi Hammer! I’m Chisel! I’m the Blacksmith’s favorite tool!”

This triggered Knife and Saw; they both snarled at Chisel and bragged about themselves. Snips wasn’t about to let the moment pass, so she raised her voice and shouted about her achievements. Hammer was caught in the crossfire.

The arguments raged on, and the tools engaged in a power showdown to outdo one another in their respective skills.

Snips tried to do what Saw was made to do. She tried with all of her might to cut hard metals using her sharp blade. But the metals were too hard to cut, and she wasn’t built for this job. So Snips damaged her blade, and she ended up hurt and broken.

Knife agreed to the challenge and tried to cut metal tins using her blade. But her blade was only as thick as the tins she was trying to cut, so she couldn’t make any progress. Frustrated and weary, Knife gave up.

Saw was confident he could do Chisel’s job; he was strong enough for metal, there’s no way he couldn’t cut wood. But his teeth weren’t meant for wood.

Chisel let out a ridiculing laugh. Then, standing proudly in front of the others, he flexed his muscles and pounded on the nails against the wood.

Alas, his strength failed him. He was humiliated as Saw, Knife, and Snips snickered. Hammer watched, oblivious of his role. So he stood frozen where he was too embarrassed to look at his companions.

The other tools were about to press him to showcase himself, but he was saved by the bell as the door suddenly opened and the Blacksmith entered the shop.

They were too surprised to move a muscle, and the Blacksmith saw his tools—broken, disfigured, and looking gloomy. He approached them and held each of them in his hands. Whistling softly, his brows arched slightly at the sight of their wounds.

Turning to Hammer, the Blacksmith asked what happened, so Hammer told him what transpired.

Then, like a father to his children, he cleared his throat, pulled his chair, and spoke to each of them.

“Life is not a competition to prove yourself against others. It is a journey toward discovering and enjoying your unique purpose,” he said.

“When you try to do what you’re not meant to do, you’ll end up frustrated, broken, and discouraged. But when you know what you’re created for and focus on doing it, you’ll flourish, enjoy, and grow,” said the Blacksmith to the tools.

He added: “It was I who created you, so I’m the best person to tell you about why I created you. You may choose to discover it by yourself, but that might cause you pain and disappointment. If you want to know your purpose, come to me, for I am your creator,” he said.

“Yes, you’re created for a purpose. You were designed to fulfill a specific role. Life becomes meaningful when you live life with a sense of purpose,” he said.

Snips, in a low voice, interrupted. “But now we’re broken . . . Can we still be useful for you?” The others’ faces became downcast upon hearing her question. They realized that because of their pride, they are now a bunch of broken tools, useless to the Blacksmith, waiting to be discarded.

But the Blacksmith leaned in closer and spoke with love.

“I am not done with you yet. The anvil awaits, and I will mold you again to sharpen your edges and fix your broken parts. This process will hurt; the fire will burn you. But trust my hands, for I am gentle and I know my plans for you.”

The Blacksmith gathered his broken tools and refined them once again through the fire. The process was painful, but the result was extraordinary.

At the end of it all, the Blacksmith packed his tools and went on an adventure to build his house. It was then that the tools realized that they aren’t meant to compete with one another, but to complement what the others can’t do by fulfilling their individual purpose.

As Hammer, Chisel, Knife, Snips, and Saw surrendered their lives at the hands of the Blacksmith, they were able to fulfill their purpose and accomplish his mission—to build his house.


Photo Credits: Todd Quackenbush