This Wednesday evening, I will close my time with you. We will finish our short look at the Lord’s Prayer. I am thankful for my weeks with you. You are a good and loving church family. This week I leave you with an encouraging word. My prayers go with you as you move forward into your future in life and ministry.
What is a masterpiece? Is it perhaps something that floods our minds and imaginations with emotion? Perhaps one of the following come to mind: Beethoven’s 9th Symphony; Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro; Leonardo’s The Last Supper; Van Gogh’s Starry Night; Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; Tennessee Williams’ A Street Car Named Desire; Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice; Twain’s The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn; Michelangelo’s statue of David; or The Thinker by Rodin. These are debatably some of the greatest works of art and literature ever and are particularly striking to mankind. And, that is the mark of a true masterpiece – they transcend eras and cultures and move us in deep and profound ways.
We think of a painting, or a piece of music, or a play, or a sculpture as a masterpiece, but when we look in the mirror, we tend to see only our flaws and our failures, our blemishes and places of blame. But I bring you a very different word; you are one of God’s great works of art.
In the first book of the Bible, we hear an incredible pronouncement in the midst of God’s great creative work of making all that is. We listen in on the creation story and hear; So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Gen. 1:27) I love these words. When I think of all there is and its wonder and beauty, I think of the work of God’s hand. But here we learn that we are not simply one of the created; we were created in the very image of God. What is good and best in us is a reflection of the face of God. In the New Testament we hear a similar theme. Ephesians 2:10 tells us For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Paul tells us we are God’s workmanship. The word “workmanship” emerged from the everyday life of people. It was used to speak of a person’s very best work. It represented the height of who they were in their craft. Paul uses this work to convey we are God’s best work, a work of art, in the story of creation. Paul also wants us to know we are art for a purpose.
On my first trip to Oklahoma City, I saw the downtown landscaped dotted with painted bison statues. Each one was uniquely remarkable. They were not hidden away in a museum or private collection. Instead they were on display. This is the kind of artwork God intends us to be. You are some of his very best work, and God calls you and me to be out there in the midst of the world, doing the good God has for us to do. That way everyone glimpses the kind of art you are and the God that created you.
Grace and Peace, Tom