The Perfect Mistake

January 15, 2022

"When we dedicate our gifts and talents to God, giving back to him the fruit of the gifts He has given us, our work is shaped by our love for God."


When we offer out gifts and talents to God, He sometimes uses them in unexpected ways.

The book, “Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul,” published in 2000, includes the story, “The Perfect Mistake.”

The story concerns an elderly carpenter living in Chicago. The carpenter volunteered to build crates to hold the clothes that his church was sending to an orphanage in China. When he finished the crates he helped load them up with clothes and put them on the trucks that would take the crates to the docks for the China-bound ships.

He was pleased to offer his gifts to help the needy, even in such a small way. But on his way home he reached into his shirt pocket for his glasses, they were gone. He mentally went back over his day and realized that they must have fallen out of his pocket when he was bending over loading the crates. His glasses were on their way to the other side of the world.
He was upset at the thought of having to buy another pair. The glasses were new and he didn't have a lot of money. “It isn't fair,” he complained to God as he drove home, “I have given of my time and talent, and now this happens.”

Several months later the director of the Chinese orphanage came to speak the carpenter's church. He began by thanking them for their generosity and faithfulness. The clothing was greatly needed.

“But most of all,” he continued, “I want to thank you for the glasses you sent. You see the communists had just swept through the orphanage destroying everything, including my glasses. I was desperate, even if I had the money there was just no way for me to replace those glasses. We prayed desperately over the situation and then your crates arrived. When we removed the cover from one of the crates we saw the pair of glasses lying on top of the folded clothes.” The director paused a moment to let his words sink in, then continued. “My friends, when I tried on the glasses it was if they had been made for me, they were perfect. Thank you again for your faith and generosity.”

The people of the small church were a little confused. Glasses were not on the list of items they had sent to the orphanage. But in the back row, an elderly carpenter sat silently, tears streaming down his face.

All of us are given unique gifts, and there are no small gifts. These gifts are given to us for the common good, to build up the Body of Christ. Since these are supernatural gifts we can trust in their capacity to work spiritual wonders even if they seem outwardly mundane.

It is our part to do all we can with the gifts we have been given. Then we can present them to the Lord and allow Him to change them into something greater than they were, as the water at Cana was turned into wine.
God speaks to us through our gifts, it is for us to listen, and do as He tells us.

Pax Vobiscum
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

"The Visitation" ©Lawrence Klimecki


© Lawrence Klimecki

Purchase fine art prints by Deacon Lawrence here.

Deacon Lawrence draws on ancient Christian tradition to create new contemporary art that seeks to connect the physical and the spiritual.. For more information on original art, prints and commissions, Please visit 

Lawrence Klimecki, MSA, is a deacon in the Diocese of Sacramento. He is a public speaker, writer, and artist, reflecting on the intersection of art and faith

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