Last night was the annual student art show for my town. Artwork from all of the art students in grades K-12 across three schools is put on display for an evening for the entire town to view. It is done all in one building so every nook and corner of the school is filled with artwork; from the walls to the display cases, even the window sills are turned into a community art gallery.
It’s a big deal in our town, parents go to not only view their own child’s work but those of neighborhood kids, of children of friends and co-workers, even work by students you don’t know but stop to admire their talent. There is just as much socializing over the cookies and punch as there is in the hallways and parking lot.
Two of my three kids had works on display last night (somehow my middle child, the freshman, managed to escape art on his schedule and get physical education class – no surprise to those that know him). My oldest is a senior this year so our community recognizes that status with having multiple pieces of work on display for seniors instead of the customary one or two for all the other students involved. My senior, the one who has complained about art all year-long, is good. I mean he’s really good. Apparently the art genes are like red hair or the ability to do complex math as they skipped a generation over me and were given to my kid instead. I’m not surprised at my son’s abilities as my mother has some great art talent and while I love art, unless it’s an imitation of Jackson Pollack or a post-modern immersion sculpture installation, I’m doing the appreciating and not the creating. I don’t have the gift to take the vision and craft it into a finished piece of art for display like my son can. He clearly had a talent in him that he didn’t know he had.
I’m reminded of the story of Michelangelo and what is arguably his most famous sculpture. For nearly 100 years a giant chunk of marble had sat unused in the courtyard of a cathedral in Florence, Italy. It had long been considered unusable due to flaws in the stone and likely discarded where it lay from the construction of the mighty building. Finally in an attempt to do something, anything, with the discarded stone, a young sculptor who we today know as Michelangelo was asked to create something with the unwanted block of stone. Michelangelo studied the flaws, carefully noting where they ran and lay. After his measurements and study he then began to work. For the next 3 years he worked on that slab of flawed marble until he had finished. The result is an 18 foot high figure that is considered to be one of the highest achievements in art history, the statue of David.
For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]. Ephesians 2:10 (The Amplified Bible)
We are like that slab of flawed marble. While we or others may see only our flaws and be tempted to discard us as unusable, God has other plans for us. He is the Master Sculptor and he can see the vision of the final product. The J. B. Phillips translation says “The fact is that what we are we owe to the hand of God upon us”. We are what we are because of the hand of God. Let that sink in and get that down deep into the DNA of your spirit. We are what we are because of the hand of God.
So you have some flaws, big deal. We all have them. That is not going to stop God from doing something with you and your life to bring honor and glory to Him. Just as that slab of marble had flaws, Michelangelo worked around them and incorporated them into his final masterpiece. So to will God use that which we and others may devalue to bring a priceless value to his finished handiwork. God will chip away at our rough edges and imperfections, patiently perfecting them to his final creation in Christ.
We might just be surprised at the talents and final masterpiece that we have hidden inside us.