Duck splashing

Masterpieces don’t happen overnight

Culture in 21st century America is all about immediate gratification. We want what we think will make us happy, and we want it right now. No waiting. No delay. No hesitation. Now. And when we don’t get what we want now, we feel deprived or mistreated.
That’s how we approach God even, sadly. We pray and ask Him for the things we want, and when He doesn’t answer that prayer, we get angry at Him. Or we tell ourselves He doesn’t exist because if He did exist, He would give us everything we’ve asked for. Well, there are some verses in James that deal with that, but that’s not my focus this morning.
Duck splashing

Duck splashing - Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

 Today’s verse is Ephesians 2:10.

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.

First off, if God is calling us His masterpiece, I want to know what a masterpiece is. When I think of the word masterpiece, I think of art. I think of a portrait or a landscape or something that a painter spent his life creating and perfecting. For a composer, it would be his magnum opus. A masterpiece. A work so incredible it can’t be duplicated and it defines the creator’s entire career.

That God would call me His masterpiece is stunning. Because I don’t feel like a work of art, especially not at this time in the morning. I have a million things wrong with me. I have all sorts of issues and problems. So how can God consider me a work of art at all, let alone his masterpiece?

Well, I have some personal insight on masterpieces. As a writer, I have dozens of masterpieces. Or at least, they will be. I just have to finish them. These novels that are sitting around have the potential to be the greatest work I’ve ever done. I just have to spend a little more time working on them.

A masterpiece doesn’t happen overnight. Rarely. Even The Messiah took days to write, although it marked the end of Handel’s composing and his life. A masterpiece takes time and effort and sacrifice. Creating a masterpiece is a process.

But an artist doesn’t see things the way others do. An artist can see what a block of marble or a canvas or a stack of paper has the potential to become. And an artist knows that he is creating a masterpiece even though he just started the process. And even though it looks like he’s just making a mess or that he’s just wasting time, that artist knows what he’s doing because he has a plan. And if you ask an artist what they’re doing, they’ll tell you that they’re working on their masterpiece (unless they have a sense of humor, and then they’ll tell you they’re taming a monster). Because in their eyes, that project — even uncompleted — is still a masterpiece.

We Christians in 2012 America want God to finish His process on our time. We want Him to finish painting or sculpting or writing or whatever it is that He’s doing in our lives now so we can move on to other things. It’s uncomfortable. When God is working on us, it’s painful. I mean, if a block of marble could feel, wouldn’t you think it would squeal every time that chisel and hammer make contact?

But God doesn’t work on our time, thankfully. He sees the big picture. And He has a plan. And His process will produce a work of art that can never be duplicated. When God is done with us, we really will be masterpieces. But getting to that point will take time.

I’m including a link to a YouTube video by the Skit Guys called “God’s Chisel” because this morning’s verse made me think about it.