This is a guest post from Karim Hanna - a doctor of family medicine in Miami, FL. In today's post, Karim reminds us of what it means to be a masterpiece of God's beautiful creation. You can follow Karim on his blog, 1thingisneeded, or on twitter @1thingisneeded. If you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
I am not an artist - at least not in the typical sense of the word. No one will ever confuse me with Michelangelo.
Does it count that I've always wanted to draw? I've wanted to grab a pencil, or some paint, and change a blank canvas into a masterpiece. Even with the help of those group painting sessions on Groupon, I'll likely never know the feeling.
But this makes me want to be an artist:
"And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship" (Exodus 31:3)
The first person in Scripture who was 'filled...with the Spirit of God' was Bezalel - an artist. Cool Bible fact? Yes. A bit further along in the Biblical narrative than I would have guessed. This was not mentioned of Noah, Abraham, or Moses. But, how beautiful?!
To be filled with God Himself! Lucky him. And lucky us as well!
Why Bezalel? There must be purpose. It's what he's doing and why he's doing it. He was the chief of the artisans working on the tabernacle. He was creating a masterpiece - where God would communicate with His people (no pressure). How beautiful?! There are other masterpieces in Scripture - such as Solomon's temple for example. A Serbian Orthodox bishop, St. Nikolai Velimirovich, related Solomon to Bezalel in this manner:
"In the same way, the Temple of Solomon, one of the greatest architectural wonders of the old world, was built by people taught by the Spirit of God and directed by the hand of the Lord. This is the witness of the Holy Scriptures."
I want that. I want to be taught and directed. I want wisdom, understanding, knowledge in all my work. Don't you?
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5)
I believe the same holds true for the other characteristics as well - just ask. How beautiful?! Ask in Christ's name, before the Father, and we will be granted freely through the Holy Spirit. The beauty of Trinitarian worship. Lucky us. Now we too have the same gift as Bezalel. But, we must devote ourselves as artisans. As artists, committed to the glorification of our God.
The Holy Spirit, my brothers and sisters, is the Giver of life.
"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)
In this verse, St Paul draws (<--see that pun) a figurative line between the old, and the new. Our status changes with the new, we have life. We are able. Which brings us to another form of draw(ing) - my #1 favorite (part of a) verse:
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." (James 4:8a)
Drawing isn't only artistic with paint, it's also majestic in motion. St. James tells us to strive towards our loving God, and He will reciprocate. How beautiful?! I imagine, our infinitely small hesitation towards Him, and His 99.99% towards us. Leaving us with the .01% from our end. James was not the 1st to mention this concept.
"Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 1:3)
"Yet from the days of your fathers. You have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, 'In what way shall we return?’" (Malachi 3:7)
The Unchangeable God, then and now, awaits our return. How? Pivot. Turn. Strive. He awaits our tiny motion towards Him, and He completes it by running towards us. He grants us hope.
So - if you're like me and cannot draw, He'll take our inabilities and perfect them. If we cannot paint the perfect picture for others to see, its ok. He will paint over all our sins and failed attempts. He will re-sculpt our brokenness. Then, He'll show you off to the world. YOU are His masterpiece.
Today, take action. Make motion. Draw, and the Artisan of the Universe will draw with you, for His glory on earth. Step in His direction. Draw yourself towards Him, and He will draw Himself infinitely towards you. How beautiful?! Recognize, He not only desires intimacy, but unity. Not just friendship, but communion. Seek Him, and He who waits on us all the day, will draw us to a life unprecedented. Life with Him.
Brothers and sisters, 1thingisneeded: Draw(ing) near to Him.