As you stand at the threshold of yet another year, what do you see?
Do you see a world of possibility before you or a world of problems? Do you see a life filled with an abundance of opportunities or obstacles? Do you see yourself as more than a conqueror or already conquered?
Make no mistake, if you saw yourself from God’s perspective you would see yourself as more than a conqueror with an abundance of possibilities and opportunities to make this year your best ever!
A few months ago my very good friend Rob West (and fellow Good News columnist) spoke to a men’s group. The speech was as passionate as it was powerful, and at one point he showed the crowd of men a picture of what he called “refrigerator art.”
He displayed a photo of his refrigerator at home. It had a piece of artwork on it that was made by his 3-year-old son Colby. No one in the audience could identify what the picture was, but Colby’s father was so proud of his son’s “masterpiece.” His pride did not come from the quality of work but because of the quantity of heart that was put into it!
Rob explained. “Our life work is God’s refrigerator art.”
He said that this is how God, through Jesus Christ, sees the work He’s doing in our lives – even when others cannot identify the bigger picture.
Now, I know that some of you are thinking, “There is no way God would put my life work up on His refrigerator with all the mistakes I have made in the past!”
These thoughts are simply the work of the Accuser who is doing everything in his power to convince you that your life work is worthless, unnecessary and without any value at all. Don’t you believe it! If God had a refrigerator, everything you have done in your life for His glory would be front and center regardless of the mistakes you have made in the past.
Mistakes are simply the foundation upon which the Master builds His masterpiece in you.
In Jeremiah 18:1-6 we read, The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me: “Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done?” says the LORD. “Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”
The prophet Jeremiah is telling us that God is at work in our lives and He is making and remaking us into His masterpiece, and He will not stop until all of the imperfections have been removed, and that, beloved, will only happen on the other side of the grave.
The Bible is full of examples of God working and reworking the clay until He was satisfied with the masterpiece He created. When the Lord told Jonah to go to Nineveh to preach the word of God, Jonah declined and sailed off in the opposite direction to Tarshish. When Jesus told Peter he would deny knowing Him, Peter said, “Never!” and yet denied His Lord not once, but three times in the courtyard of the high priest.
The great comfort for those men and many others in the Bible is in knowing that God did not leave them in their sin and disobedience. When they were filled with a godly sorrow for what they had done, God picked them up and put them back on the path He had chosen for them. God continued working and reworking His saints for faithful and fruitful service, and He is doing the same for you today.
When my wife and I were first converted in September of 1995, a good friend gave us these letters on a little sheet of paper and told us to never forget them: PBPWMGINFWMY. On the other side of the paper it read, “Please be patient with me. God is not finished with me yet.”
God is not finished with you either. He is working you into the masterpiece He is calling you to be. To be sure, the pictures of some of your life work might not draw much attention at the art gallery, but it is refrigerator art for your Father in Heaven.
The life work of countless saints over the centuries have become God’s refrigerator art, even the work of reluctant Jonah and the betrayer, Peter.
So, what does 2009 look like to you right now, right where you are? Are you filled with passion and purpose for the unlimited possibilities that await your arrival? If you see it from God’s perspective, you will be. You will see your life as both a gift and a trust. The gift is life itself. The trust is to live that life for His glory alone.
Remember, it’s not the quality of your life work but the quantity of heart within that work that matters most to God. When you live it that way, regardless of the results, your life work becomes God’s refrigerator art! Never forget that … Amen!
Rev. Tommy Boland is the minister of men’s and sports at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and teaches a Sunday school for adults. He is available for PULPIT SUPPLY and to conduct training events at your church. For more information including Bible study resource materials, please send an e-mail to: [email protected]