Have you ever watched a sculptor work? It doesn’t matter if the medium used is stone or wood, the process is truly remarkable as the artist, with a vision of the finished work clearly in his or her mind’s eye, works patiently to “liberate” from that raw material something of completed form and lasting beauty.
Michelangelo labored for 3 years with a piece of marble referred to as il gigante, the giant, which was abandoned by a lesser known sculptor named Agostino di Duccio before revealing the masterpiece we now know as “David.” This masterpiece is a 17’ tall rendering of boy hero David, complete with sling on shoulder, resolute in heart and motivated by faith before battling and defeating a true mortal giant, Goliath.
Interestingly, the statue was intended to be part of a collection of statues located at a Florence, Italy cathedral where onlookers could view from a significant distance below. (This accounts for a few of David’s features, specifically his head and hands, being somewhat larger than scale so that they could be better seen from farther away.) What people saw in il gigante was a huge disappointment, a block of exquisite marble barely scratched. What Michelangelo saw in this hunk of precious marble was a “prisoner” awaiting release by the skill of his masterful hands. Enough art history.
When you watch a sculptor work, you initially observe large pieces of wood or stone cut away with strong, heavy strokes in order to get down to the precise, definitive work to be revealed. Material that is not essential is removed as the artist moves into the detailed, minute touches releasing small, unnecessary particles which, when gone, allow the finished work to be displayed in its true radiance.
Have you ever thought that this is much the same way God works on us, taking the raw material that comprise us and over time patiently and masterfully crafting us into the image of his beautiful Son, Jesus?Have you ever considered that what some people see in you is not remarkable, but what God sees in you is a potential work of art, perhaps even poetry in motion?
Let’s face it, no matter how well we may think of ourselves, when we first came into relationship with Christ we were fondly welcomed but we were not some stellar moral or spiritual “gift to God.” Fortunately for us, God’s direction for us is to “come as you are,” broken and messy, and not to try to correct or dress ourselves up in some fashion we think will impress or be more pleasing to God. Just come!
Initially God may have a lot of heavy “chipping” to do on us so that he can get down to the finer touches which, incidentally, take up our entire life on this earth. I’m sure you knew that. But here’s the point you hunk of precious marble or block of exquisite wood. Can you still feel the Master’s hand at work on you, changing you, perfecting you? If you can look in the mirror and still recognize there is finishing work for God to accomplish and be grateful that he is tireless in his attention concerning you, well done! If, in your self-study you sense God has stopped “tapping” on you or that you look to yourself like a completed work of art, then I suggest you inquire of the Master and invite his response. Something has stalled the processand it’s more likely you than it is God. Think About It.