One day, I hope to create a masterpiece. A painting that enraptures its viewers, or a sculpture that changes the way people see the world, or something that I leave behind that made the world a little different...a little better...
I think that this is the hope of every person alive on this earth. To make a difference...to have something in their life that they can point to and say "That was my crowning achievement."
Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
That word “workmanship” is the Greek word poeima, which can also be translated “masterpiece”.
As an artist, I understand the concept of a masterpiece. It’s the culminating achievement of an artist’s career -- the piece that the artist will be known for throughout all history. It is the work that evokes feelings of love, pride, joy and satisfaction in the artist when they look at it.
And here, Paul is saying that WE are God's masterpieces! We are God's crowning achievements, each of us, with all our differences and uniqueness.
I've always struggled with knowing how God sees me. Nervous that every fault I had, every mistake I made might change how valuable I was to God. Thinking that as long as I was good, I was beautiful, but as soon as I failed, my value somehow lessened in His eyes.
But He calls us His MASTERPIECES.
That is not a flexible term. A piece of art can’t go from being the masterpiece one day to being the failure the next.
But then what about my flaws? What about all the mistakes that I make? If I am a masterpiece, doesn’t that imply that I am flawless?
Yes, because that God sees us. He sees all the flaws, all the ugliness, and looks past that to the finished work. When an artist looks at a blank canvas, they see the painting as it is finished -- as the beautiful masterpiece it will be. But the artist also sees the process that it will take to get it there.
And the process is SO important!
Throughout the process, there are a lot of mistakes. There’s a lot of unknown territory. When I’m painting, there are many times where I will do something that looks to outside eyes as though it was a mistake. But in my mind it is a necessary element that will help complete the painting.
God is the perfect Master Artist! He created galaxies and stars and mountains and lilies with perfect balance. He orders the rotations of the planets and the seasons with flawless precision. He created the human body in all its mind boggling intricacies and beauty. And the things that we regard as mistakes, He sees as the shadows in a painting. The shadows are what make the brighter colors stand out.
In the same way, dark things in our lives, the mistakes that we make and learn from, those are the shadows that make the bright things in our lives all the sweeter.
Right now we are works in progress. While we are still on this earth, we are like a painting that hasn’t been finished yet. It’s still in progress – in the process. A painting doesn’t always look very beautiful as it is being painted, but at the end it can take your breath away.
We see the mess, but God sees the masterpiece.