The Woodcutter’s Wishes is an ancient legend that has several variations and reveals something about the three wishes of Jude. The basic story involves a woodcutter and his wife who felled trees in a forest. As they come to a particular tree they hear the barely audible whisper of a fairy begging them not to cut down her home.
They decide to leave the tree alone and the grateful fairy grants the couple three wishes. The couple returns home somewhat bewildered, but very excited about this amazing windfall. They sit down at their kitchen table to discuss how to spend their wishes. They have so many wants and needs that they can’t decide what their three most pressing needs are.
As they are quarreling about what they really need, the woodcutter’s stomach rumbles and he blurts out, “Right now all I really want is a sausage for dinner!”
Immediately a huge, juicy sausage materializes before him on the dinner table. His wife goes ballistic, yelling at him for his idiotic impulsivity, which has now squandered one of their precious wishes. In her rage, she declares, “You foolish, foolish man, I wish your nose was a sausage!”
Of course, the man’s nose instantly morphs into the requested shape. Both are shocked by this situation. They work together trying to remove the new appendage but to no avail. The sausage is firmly part of the man’s face.
The Woodcutter is desperate not to have a sausage as a nose, nor does his wife want to spend her life looking at his sausage nose. They agree to use their final wish to reverse the situation and are thus left with nothing to show for their three wishes.
If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?
Today we discover the three wishes Jude, the half-brother of our Lord, has for his readers. And evidently he put way more thought into his choices than the woodcutter did.
Jude1-2 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
3 ESSENTIALS JUDE WISHES FOR YOU TO ENJOY A GOOD LIFE
1. MERCY: FROM GOD
Jude is poised to issue some stern warnings, but he begins his epistle by affirming what he wishes for his readers. And the blessing that tops his list: mercy.
Of the three wishes Jude has for your life, this is the most important one: mercy – the withholding of deserved consequences. We all need mercy from God.
Once we grasp that we are guilty before God, that we can’t secure our own forgiveness, and that we deserve God’s wrath, we will become increasingly thankful that we have a God of mercy…
Ps 145: 8-9 The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
What we learn from Jude’s greeting is that if we only had one wish for each other, it should be that God would have mercy on us.
But Jude doesn’t only have one wish…
2. PEACE: IN YOURSELF
Many today lack inner peace, a sense of contentment and balance and confidence about the present and future. Many people suffer from different types of anxiety, stress, depression, phobias, worry, and discontent.
There are so many enemies of peace, ranging from a snide comment to a guilty conscience, from poor health to financial pressures or even physical danger.
The Apostle Paul wrote that the way to counter anxiety and to have peace is to fill your mind with truth about God.
Philippians 4:6-8 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
If you worry and stress and get anxious, learn these verses, pray to God, and think on what is true.
3. LOVE: FOR OTHERS
The love that Jude is referring to here is love for others, because he says “may…love be multiplied to you.”
The way love will be multiplied to his readers is if they all love each other.
Love for other Christians is a sign of assurance of your salvation.
1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.
One of the ways I know I am saved is that I have love for people who would not naturally be appealing to me. It is easy to love people of your own race, culture, and background— people who share your tastes in humor and music and hobbies. But Christians love spending time with each other regardless of race or age or any other worldly barrier.
This love includes a willingness to sacrifice our preferences, our time, our money, and our convenience for other people in the church, simply because they are believers.
So the next time you think of something that annoys you about someone in your church, remember that love for other believers is proof that you are a believer. Then remember this is what that love looks like…
1 Cor 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;…Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Imagine a church where everyone loved each other.
That is what Jude wishes for us.
CONCLUSION: The story of The Woodcutter’s Wishes is a macabre example of what happens when people put no thought into what is truly important.
How many of us are pursuing desires and plans and goals, which, in God’s grand scheme, are no more important than a sausage on a plate?
I challenge you to relook at your life and priorities and determine if they are in line with what this godly man wishes for you: mercy, peace, and love.