Thursday, January 29, 2015

Me a Masterpiece! I don't think so.

 "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."  Eph. 2:10

I'm following a Bible reading plan from and today's reading included Eph 2:10 (above).  This verse jangles my nerves, feels wrong, bothers and challenges me, so I decided to write about it. Here are the problems I struggle with:

#1: I ain't no Mona Lisa. "Masterpiece"? I feel more like a child's first attempt at fingerpainting.  Anyone out there looking at me and saying "Wow, a masterpiece!" I don't think so. Look at my life and most people would say "Oh! What happened?"  So I re-read the verse and guess what - it doesn't say I'm a masterpiece. It says "we" are God's masterpiece, so I quickly read the whole section of scripture (always a good idea) and discovered it is talking about how God brings people from completely different backgrounds and cultures (Gentiles & Jews) into one family where we learn to love each other and glorify God together. Together - we are his masterpiece. Whew! Heat's off. Thanks God.

#2: This is your plan for me?!? "so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago". I'm running a small business, dealing with staff who tell me that I should do things this way or that way, staff who come in late, customers who complain and rarely say "thank you". We serve helpers who scrub toilets, change diapers, toil away in the kitchen, fetch kids, walk dogs.  This was not their childhood dream. They wanted to be nurses, teachers, business owners, movie stars. I wanted to be an astronaut, a football star, a leader of a large company. Instead I'm running a mom and pop business. Is this the plan? Lord, are these the "good things" the good works you planned for us long ago?  


Yes! The answer is "Yes!" Changing diapers, dealing with a complaining customer, loving the children in our care - whether our own or someone else's, wiping away tears, giving a word of encouragement, handling the paperwork on a contract renewal with care, putting the clothes away in the right drawer - not putting mom's undies in sir's drawer, ALL of this qualifies as the "good works" that God himself planned for us long ago. Greatness doesn't lie in doing BIG things, but in doing SMALL things, ordinary things with care and love. 

There is an alley behind BurgerKing in Mong Kok. In that alley, an older man runs a small business. He repairs shoes. With just a stool and a box of tools and supplies, he fixes shoes for people who walk through the alley. The sole of my shoe came loose one day and since I was nearby, I went to look for him. Because I spoke Cantonese he asked me if I was a pastor or missionary. I confessed that I was. He told me that he was a Christian and would not allow me to pay him for fixing my shoe. He glued and stitched it together with loving care and skill. He was doing the good works God planned for him long ago. 

Most of life is ordinary. What makes something "good" is NOT the position or title we hold, but HOW we do our work.  Being the president of a Fortune 500 company is not a "good" job. It is only good if the person leads well and creates value for the people who work there, and the customers they serve. My work, my ordinary life has the same potential as the president of the USA to bring honor to God. 

Today Lord, may we, your children, who are together your masterpiece bring glory to you and blessing to others through doing the good works you long ago planned for us. Amen