The Tilted Clock

The Tilted Clock

In a certain village lived a clock-maker who was well  known for his fine workmanship. He was born in that village, had learned clock-making from his father, and now in his old age was building even better clocks. His clocks kept accurate time, and his fame was known to many people for many miles around.

One day the town-fathers came into his store where he was working on a large grandfather clock. They asked him to build the largest and the best clock he had ever made for which they would pay him well. It was to be placed in the middle of the town square on a high and strong pedestal so that everyone could read the time of the day. When the clock-maker heard that this clock was for all the people in the village, he said, "I will build the very best clock and will present it as a gift to all the people of the village."

"But we will be happy to pay you," replied the town-fathers.

"I have only one request," said the old man, "that my name be inscribed upon the pendulum."

And so the clock was built and when it was finished the villagers gathered around to watch the raising of the clock into position on a steel pole set deeply in cement. The people marveled at its size. The large glass face cast reflections of the sun.

There it stood and although covered with snow and ice in the winter, its large hands pointed to the hour of the day. Summer and winter, spring and fall, and year after year, the people set their watches by this clock. And each day as the old clock-maker wended his way homeward, he looked at his masterpiece; it gave him joy to think that his name was swinging to and fro on the pendulum.

But one day there was a heavy storm. A tree blew over and hit the steel pole so that the clock was tilted. In this position the pendulum swung too far to one side, and the clock stopped. The pendulum only swings evenly when the clock stands firmly on an even base.

Life is like that clock. The clock was a gift from the master clock-builder. Our lives are a gift from the great Master-builder, God. Our hearts on which God has inscribed his name, are like the pendulum on which the clock-maker had inscribed his name. A clock must stand evenly and straight if it is to run well or go at all. We must be straight in our words, in our thoughts, and in whatever we do, if we are to live well. Bad language, evil thoughts, and unkind deeds make a crooked person. A clock that is not straight, stops, and a person, not straight, stops—stops living as God wants him to live. The pendulum swings evenly only in a clock that stands straight. Our hearts beat true to God only if our lives are straight.

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