Yesterday Phil and Jonathan collected a lathe from a friend at church. Jonathan had been looking to buy one, to add to his workshop, but he had closely missed out on one on eBay and so we continued to pray for one. Then our friend discovered Jonathan wanted one and he happily sold us his, as he had hardly used it.
Immediately upon its arrival, Jonathan set to work. He had decided to, rather ambitiously, make a bowl, as his first project. He worked yesterday evening and all afternoon today and this evening his hard work was complete and he ran in beaming with his finished product.
As he described the process of creating it, the inspiration for my blog post came to me. You see, the bowl was originally one of the branches off our tree. We recently had a tree surgeon over to remove some of the lower branches, so that we had space for our extension, which will start in a couple of weeks. The tree surgeon left many pieces of wood for Jonathan, to make wooden items with, as well as piles of logs for us to season, to use in our log burner.
Seeing the bowl reminded me of the Bible verse, ‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’ Ephesians 2:10. This bowl was Jonathan’s ‘masterpiece’, but it reminded me of God creating us as his masterpiece. Jonathan took a dead piece of wood and started to work on it, he had to take off the rough exterior, to reveal the beautiful wood underneath. When we first come to Christ there begins a process of removing our ‘rough exterior’, our old way of living. He also showed me the heart of the wood in the dip of the bowl. This struck me as a reminder that God has put his heart in each of us, but we need shaping to reveal the beauty of God’s heart in us.
The wood contained some beautiful knots, which Jonathan had to work on more carefully than the rest of the bowl. Each knot was delicate and required care and attention to bring out their beauty without damaging them. How many ‘knots’ do we have in our lives? ‘Knots’ made from our challenges, our pain, our suffering. These ‘knots’ are worked on by God, our Master Craftsman. He treats us so gently when we have a ‘knot’ in our lives and yet he uses each ‘knot’ to make us more beautiful, more Christlike. Each bowl made from wood is unique, some with more knots than others, but all beautiful. We too are made into something beautiful when we give our lives into the hands of the Master Craftsman.
Finally, I placed the fruit in the bowl and God used this to give me one last reminder. His work in us is for a purpose, we are created to do ‘good things’. A bowl is not much use unless you put something in it and we too are created for God’s purposes. The fruit was also a helpful picture of the Holy Spirit working in us. It is the fruit of the Spirit in us which enables us to do the good work God has given us to do.
Isn’t it amazing how God takes someone who was once dead (in his/her sins) and by putting his heart in them and by the fruit of his Holy Spirit, he creates someone beautiful and reveals to them their created purpose.
‘God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.’ Ephesians 4-5
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