Praise the chisel, part one

There’s a song we sing at my church called I See Heaven and it’s one of my favorites. It’s a fairly simple song, which sometimes is best in worship music, and the chorus goes like this. “We give You praise and all of the honor, You are our God the one we live for, We give You praise and all of the glory God.” It’s a stunning song, just so beautiful and full of power, but it’s only recently that I’ve started to get the most out of this song. I’ve written before about praising people versus praising God. When I accomplish something great, it can be easy to feel deserving of some level of praise and glory for that feat. Then there are the cases when someone does something incredible for us. Isn’t it insulting to look past that person and stare up at the heavens and thank God without even mentioning the person that carried out the blessing? Where does the line exist between always giving glory to God while still acknowledging the people He sometimes uses to do great things?

Today I want to share a quick little story with you that will illustrate the point of this series. You see, the title of this post divinely entered my brain one day. My pastor was teaching about something and all of a sudden I heard these three words, Praise the chisel, and I quickly wrote them down, knowing exactly what God was telling me. When I meditated on it later, I came up with the following story.

In Paris, there is a celebrated museum called the Louvre. People come from far and wide to the Louvre. While there, they enjoy many beautiful pieces of art including world famous works like the Mona Lisa. But truthfully, there’s only one reason anyone goes to the Louvre, and that’s to see a chisel. This isn’t just any chisel, either, it’s Michelangelo’s chisel that he used to create the iconic statue of David. People wait in lines hours long to get a glimpse of the chisel, to try to snap a picture of it. The museum regularly sells out of post cards that read “I saw the chisel at the Louvre.” In 2009, a group of international art thieves were arrested trying to steal the chisel. Since then, the chisel was locked behind an extra layer of security, and it’s only viewable for two hours a day while fifty armed guards stand around it in a triangle.

Yes, that was a stupid story. But it was a stupid story with a point. Nobody praises the chisel that was used to create the statue of David. It is not celebrated or beloved, it was simply an instrument that was used in the hands of a master to create a masterpiece. Here’s what people do. They admire the creation, and they praise the creator. The instrument used in the creation process rarely, if ever, even enters into it. Admire the creation, praise the creator. I suppose people are thankful that a tool was around for Michelangelo to use, but beyond that it’s most certainly the least important part of this whole equation to those of us going to the museum. I think we can all agree on that, right? We’re there to admire the creation and praise the creator who made it.

Now read this Bible verse.

Acts 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.

This is God, telling one PERSON to go talk to another PERSON. And what does God call that person? “A chosen instrument.” So that establishes something right here. We are God’s instruments. We are the tools He uses to get the job done. What does that make Him?

Revelation 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

From the last book to the first the Bible makes something abundantly and unarguably clear. God is the creator. He is the master artist. Want to see His masterpieces? Just open your eyes. They are the sunset, they are the stars, they are the laugh of a baby, they are love, and light, and hope, and goodness, and salvation, and grace, and they are more numerous than I could possibly list even if I devoted the rest of my life to doing so.

So if God is the master, and we are surrounded by His masterpieces, what are we? Sometimes, we’re just bystanders. We had nothing to do with the creation of the heavens or the earth. But sometimes, we get honored by being the chisel. God’s word is filled to the brim with examples of Him using people as His chosen instruments when He’s getting some work done. When He’s creating new masterpieces.

God’s blessed me immensely using people. I have a dear friend at church who early on took to grabbing me up in a big bear hug every Sunday and Wednesday. It sounds simple, but this warm hug made a world of difference in my life. It made me feel loved and accepted and it kept me coming back to church in those early days when I was still wavering in my new commitment to the Lord. I have a dear friend who came into some money and knew I was struggling a bit and gifted me some cash. That gift allowed me to buy some Christmas gifts for my family members.

I sure am glad that those people were around when God was looking to do some work. I am so glad that when He reached into his toolbelt that He didn’t find it empty, that He settled on these particular instruments and put them to work in my life. I’m thankful for the chisel, but I don’t praise it. I praise the Master who wielded it, and I marvel at the work He did with it.

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, I thank you for your deep knowledge of my inner workings.  You know things about me that I don’t know about myself.  I love that you work with your people, that you show them sides of themselves that need work, and then you stick around to help see that work through.  You’re not a bystander kind of God.  I thank you that you are active in the lives of your people.  I thank you that you use us.  I can’t imagine having all the power in existence at my fingertips and yet still reaching for a rusty old chisel, but that’s you, Lord.  You include us, you make us a part of your work.  So today I just say thank you.  Thank you that even though you don’t have to, you choose to.  You choose us as your instruments.  Thank you for showing me new levels of beauty in your word, and I ask right now that you continue to reveal yourself to your people in new and exciting ways in these times, Lord.  I pray all these things in the precious name of Jesus, amen.

I’m very excited about these posts this week.  I really feel like God brought me to a new level of understanding through this study and my prayer is that it will help others out there as well.  I hope the week is off to a great start for all of you.  I love you guys very much!

 

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