For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10,ESV
In Greek, “workmanship” is poiema, the same word from which we get our English word “poem.” Poiema is also translated as “creation, handiwork,” and … this is my favorite … “masterpiece.”
Think of humanity’s masterpieces: Bethovan’s Ninth Symphony. Handel’s Messiah. Michelangelo’s “David.” Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”, and J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. All of these works have two things in common – they are amazing, and they did not create themselves. Bethovan composed his Ninth Symphony while deaf. Michelangelo spent three years chipping away at the marble block to create “David.” Leonardo da Vinci had to dip brush into paint and apply paint to canvas to give us the “Mona Lisa.” And every novel has an author behind it, writing, editing, rewriting and second guessing plot structure and word choice.
A masterpiece is what is produced when the master works. I was no masterpiece to start with. I was just a wayward girl, intent upon her own desires, sinful and lost. But, Jesus died for me, and rose again to give me new life. He re-created me into His masterpiece, his piece of work.
But He didn’t do it just to hang me on the wall and enjoy me. That’s where the metaphor of artwork breaks down. Jesus has a greater purpose. He has a job for me to do, “good works,” and he’s formed me to do them.
Ahhh… what would the world be without Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, or Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, or the whole spectrum of Jane Austen? Or what about Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, or the works of Monet? Or even our modern brushes with technological genius—Bill Gates’ Microsoft, Steve Jobs’ Apple, and that Zucker-kid’s Facebook.
Masterpieces all. But none of them just spontaneously happened. They had a creator, and that creator had a plan. An idea on the outset of what they were working on, and an intended purpose for that masterpiece on the back end.
And to think, we are called God’s masterpiece. Created with purpose, designed for His pleasure. And better, He not only had a plan for the creation itself, but a plan for that creation’s meaningful work. Sometimes I lose sight of that. Sometimes I feel abandoned in the chaos and get lost by the unexpected bends in life. But He never does. He has made me with love and given my life purpose by design. His masterpiece—amazing! I wonder, what will that look like this week?