I was born a rough hunk of uncut stone.
But I didn’t remain in my unformed state for long, because it seems everyone I encountered wielded a hammer and chisel. Some swung their hammers with good intentions and some with other motives. Either way, with every blow of the hammer, the chisel made its mark.
But tools weren’t the only things that made an impact on me as the years unfolded. Some incidental cuts occurred along the way. Over time, those circumstantial nicks and gouges altered my form.
After several decades, I looked in the mirror to see how I was taking shape.
I had become a rough-hewn hunk of misshapen stone.
Then came a season when I took a furious and sustained pounding. Iron tools clanked. Sparks flew. Fragments scattered. I teetered, tipped over, and fell with a crash. I was so badly fractured that, for a long time, I was afraid to go out in public. Everyone could see that my block was cracked.
What I saw in the mirror was a real piece of work.
Who am I? And what am I becoming?
The truth was something I couldn’t see in the mirror.
I am a masterpiece. I also happen to be a gifted artist.
So are you.
Erwin McManus expresses this truth so well in his book, The Artisan Soul. Every one of us is created in the image of God. As God’s image-bearers, we are His creative workmanship and His creative workers. We are “works of art and artists at work.”
Our lives are the masterworks that we offer to the world. The Master Artist is always at work in us, sculpting and shaping us. But He also invites us to participate in the creative work He is doing. Sometimes He holds the chisel at the precise angle and lets us swing the hammer. Other times He calls us to hold the chisel while He strikes a perfect blow. As we cooperate with the Master Artist, we become more and more like Him.
Created to create, we begin to imagine what God already sees, and partner with Him as He brings it into being. Then something amazing happens. We discover that the Master Sculptor has redeemed every hack, whack, chip and gouge of our past in order to form our present selves and shape our future being.
Sure, I’m a piece of work and a work in progress..But I’m also a “work of art and an artist at work.” So, if you’ll excuse me, I have some creative work to do.
When you look in the mirror, how do you see yourself?