The Broadminded Carpenter

The story of Silas Lackadaisy is bound up with the history of the town of Slapdash.   Silas was one of the first settlers in the area and he could tell you how it all began.   It wasn’t long until the Dawdle family moved to Slapdash, and interestingly enough, Silas Lackadaisy fell in love with Susie Dawdle, so in due time they were married.
Now Silas Lackadaisy professed to be a carpenter, although by his own way of bragging, he jokingly said he was just a jackknife carpenter.   This, of course, was okay except that Silas claimed to be very tolerant and instead of following the plans explicitly, he just went by his feelings or his judgment.   This characteristic almost got Silas in trouble when he built his house.   He knew just about where his lot was, but he didn’t consult the surveyor.   He said, “Oh well, what difference does a few inches make.”   It so happened that when his house was finished, his neighbor had a survey made and found that Silas had built his house some six inches beyond his lot.   The ensuing battle led to mach hard feelings and ended up in court where Silas was forced to make amends.
Silas lackadaisy soon found his own house too small to accommodate all the little Lackadaisys that were bouncing around, so he decided to build a larger house.   This was not too difficult for he had helped other builders, but he had always worked for someone else who made certain that the level and the square along with the blue print determined the exact specifications.   Being broadminded in character, Silas Lackadaisy was not too careful about using the level to make sure his basement was plumb.   The fact that the back of the house was about two feet longer than the front was no problem to “broadminded” Silas.   He guessed at measurements and sizes.   His windows were almost right---near enough, but they were not exact even to the causal onlooker.   When the house was ready to live in its value depreciated immediately because of its various imperfections.   However, Silas and Susie were satisfied because they had shown what could be done, by simply being a bit broadminded in the erection of a house.
An unfortunate accident occurred during the building of the house.   Silas fell from a scaffold that was not properly secured and the resulting crash caused painful lacerations to his right arm and leg.   He refused to see a doctor until complications had set in with infection and fever.   When Silas consulted the sympathetic doctor he was told to rest and take a sedative, and an antidote for his infection.   The doctor told him to take an amount equal to what he could place on a dime.   Silas started to carry out the instructions but found he didn’t have a dime.   Being broadminded, he reasoned, “Why not use two nickels.   That would make a dime.”   Silas carried out his expression of being broadminded, but the results almost proved fatal.   Doctors are not broadminded about doses of medicine!
As time went by, one of the Lackadaisy girls named Harmony, developed an aptitude for music.   Both Silas and Susie were delighted and they bought an inexpensive piano for her to practice on.   Of course, they didn’t think it was necessary to be too exact about tune or pitch or even instruction so long as she could play a tune.   The result was soon evident.   But Silas was broadminded and bragged about how Harmony could play without any lessons.   Most people added under their breath, “And without any regard to the principle of music.”
“Dizzy” failed to make the football squad.   It was not because of his lack of ability or strength, but because he would not take orders from the coach.   Dizzy Lackadaisy, like his father, was broadminded about practice, about rules and particularly about being too independent in obeying orders.   It just seemed that the Lackadaisys didn’t fit in too well with the rest of the community.   Even Susie”s cooking left much to be desired because she always guessed at ingredients instead of measuring them.   When anyone complained about a dish being too salty or spicy, Susie would brag that it was pretty good, considering the fact that she just guessed at the amount required.
In the course of time a minister came to Slapdash.   He called on all the residents in the town and invited them to the meeting place.   The Lackadaisys were among those who attended.   Silas Lackadaisy always boasted of being broadminded when it came to religion.   His argument was that all churches were aimed in the same direction and it didn’t matter which one you chose.   The same broadmindedness found its way into many of Lackadaisy’s business dealings, only there, for the most part, people called it plain crooked.   Yes, you had to watch Silas or he would take advantage of you.   Although he offered his services to help build the new church, the foreman reluctantly refused his off saying he had enough men for the Job.   What he really meant was that almost everything Silas helped with had to be torn apart and done over again.   You just can’t be careless in building the House of God.
Gradually it began to dawn on Silas that it was not always right or safe to be broadminded in everything.   Car drivers had to obey rigid rules.   Storekeepers were not broadminded about their weights and measures.   Druggists weren’t broadminded in mixing prescriptions.   Teachers weren’t broadminded about multiplication tables.   Music permitted no liberties to the musician as Silas discovered when Harmony tried to join the local band.   Doctors and druggists weren’t broadminded in their diagnoses or prescriptions.   There were many things in which broadmindedness was a liability.   Silas realized this all the more when he surveyed his own “topsy-turvey” house with its lack of precision and consequent loss of value.
Silas Lackadaisy went a bit farther.   What about his relationship with God?   After all broadmindedness might get you by on the “broad way” but the “strait gate and the narrow way” would not accommodate his brand.   At last he called it shallowness, which was its right name.   Silas and Susie finally faced up to reality and acknowledged their need.   Silas confessed that what he thought was being broadminded was jut being shallow.   He decided that there were some “fixed stars” in the spiritual heavens, and further that he was lost as far as knowing what it meant to be right with God.   His being broadminded may have been okay as long as religion didn’t matter, but when the life and destiny of the soul are at stake, a man wants to be sure.   Silas and Susie Lackadaisy didn’t procrastinate.   Together they made their peace with God and did their best to undo their folly and pass on their new discovery to their family.   The call of Christ is not debatable or negotiable.   It calls for full surrender and total obedience.   It had to be genuine for there are no substitutes for the truth.   We can’t forge our passport to glory on our own terms.   To be valid we must have Christ’s endorsement and His acceptance, which provides our assurance.


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