Praise the chisel, part three

As I close out this three part series, I want to tell you about the keyboard that I’m typing on right now. I love this thing, I really do. It’s funny because as much as I love it, I don’t know what it’s called. I know the brand, but I couldn’t tell you the specific name of this keyboard. It glows blue, and the letters make a really satisfying loud click when I push them down. I’ve written a ton of stuff on this keyboard. Almost all of my novels, pretty sure every single Bible blog, emails to dear friends, and years upon years of journalism work. If you saw this keyboard you would likely not be too impressed by it. It’s well worn, to say the least. There is gunk built up on some of the keys. If you lean down and look inside, there’s a bunch of gross white flakes that live inside the keyboard. I guess it’s dried skin, I don’t know. It’s gross looking, though. Sometimes when I push the T key two T’s appear on my screen. There are five weird buttons on the left of the keyboard that say M1, M2, M3, M4, and M5 and I’m pretty sure they’re broken. Either that or I’ve never quite understood what their purpose is. If you looked at my keyboard, you would see a dirty, worn down instrument. In a keyboard lineup, you would choose a $20 Wal-Mart keyboard before you would choose my keyboard despite the fact that mine costs over $100 brand new. Know what I see when I look at my keyboard? I see something beautiful. I see all the memories of the things I’ve created using this keyboard. I’ve written about God using this keyboard, I’ve come to know God by writing on this keyboard. I’ve collaborated with dear friends and written entertaining stories and books on this keyboard. I’ve shared encouraging words with friends in need on this keyboard. I see beauty in this imperfect tool, and I have a deep and lasting connection with it. Whereas someone else would view it as just an instrument, and a flawed one at that, I know different. I honor this keyboard, because it is there when I need it, it carries out its purpose so that I can carry out mine.

If I can feel that for this broken down old keyboard and its faded blue glowing keys, what do you think God feels for us, His chosen instruments? Should we hang our heads, thinking we’re just rusty old tools in God’s workbelt waiting to get bent up and beat on all in the name of His glory? Or should we recognize that when He takes us in His hand there is a smile on His face. That He holds us up in front of His face and regards us kindly, remembering the things we’ve accomplished together, thinking of the great things yet to come. That He lovingly employs us not because He has to, but because He wants to. Because He wants to make us a part of His work, He wants to give us a role to play as He shows the world His masterpiece of love. We’re not just a tool to Him, there’s a special connection there, a love between Creator and instrument. That’s the honor He shows to us.

On Monday I said that when I was singing the chorus of I See Heaven at church on Sunday I was just now starting to get the most out of it. “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.” Do you know why that song finally works for me? Because I finally embrace my spot in the order of creation. I embrace being His chisel.

When I think back to how I used to be I see such a sad person. I wore the disguise of a kindhearted person who loved everyone he met, but underneath I was an egomaniac. I felt as if my humility should be celebrated by the masses. I felt as if my examples of kindness should be taught in classrooms. I was so happy to do something good for others so long as it brought waves of praise my way. I’m surprised I never employed a photographer to take pictures of me every time I held the door for someone or was extra sweet to the cashier at the store. I’m surprised I didn’t post my every good deed on Facebook or Twitter and invent some terrible hashtag like #mrkindness or #Idontmindbeinkind. God’s worked on me in this area multiple times over the past year because He knew I was all twisted up inside about this stuff. He knew that I wanted to do good, but that I wanted to do good because I wanted the recognition of being a good person.

I’m really excited to tell you today that if you’ll let Him, God will guide you through all of your crap in life. My pastor said on Sunday something to this effect. “He leaves no stone unturned as he cleans up your life. I’m just glad He doesn’t turn them all over at once.” God’s gentle in His ways. Not enough people recognize that about Him. Rarely does He crash through your life. Usually He moves gently and works with you to show you an area that needs improvement. Generally He’s patient as we struggle and fight and resist and try to stay the same because we’re just stubborn stupid people. And man, He smiles on us when we finally get it, and He puts His arm around our shoulders and He chills with us for a little bit. Until a little while later, and all of a sudden you feel Him poking another part of your life, and gently reminding you that there’s something else the two of you need to take a look at.

Any great craftsman loves his tools. And great craftsmen care for their tools. They don’t discard them in the dirt when the day’s work is done. They clean them up and properly store them. They know the value of a good tool. They don’t mistreat them and they don’t abuse them. A great craftsmen holds his tools in high regard. They do great work together. There is deep and absolute honor in being an instrument wielded in the hand of God, my friends. We gotta boot ego and pride out of our lives, we have to ditch our desire for praise and recognition and just love the fact that God loves us enough to use us for His kingdom. If I’m going to be cared for, if I’m going to be recognized, if I’m going to be appreciated, let it be the Creator, the ultimate master craftsman, who does those things. The tool doesn’t get the praise, nor does it need it. Even the tool knows that without the hand of the master guiding it, it’s just an inanimate thing, an instrument without a purpose. But in the hand of our Lord, we get to live out our purpose and be a part of His beautiful work. What an honor, and just another in the unending amount of reasons why God deserves all the glory.

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, you are it.  You’re it.  Everything.  It took me a bit to get it, but I get it now.  You are the King, and I’m so honored to be a subject in your kingdom.  There’s no shame in having a king, there’s no lack of honor in getting to work for him, not when the king is love and goodness and beauty.  I ask you tonight to move in people’s lives, to bring them under your authority.  We struggle and fight it and when we finally get submitted to you we find ultimate peace and incredible blessings.  How old it must get for you to have to drag us kicking and screaming into your favor and into your paradise.  I wish I wasn’t so stubborn and stupid, God, but I’ve spent a lot of years being stubborn and stupid.  I’m certain that I’ll be stubborn and stupid again in the future, but I ask you right now to keep the lessons of this past year close to my heart.  When I start to slip into stubbornness I ask that you quickly remind me of the better way, of the beautiful power and peace that comes from just accepting you as total and absolute king in my life. I am honored to serve you, proud to serve you, and I ask that you use me more and more in the coming days.  I want to be a part of the work you’re doing in this world, because I see you still creating masterpieces every day.  I want in on it, God, because I desire to bring glory to your name.  Raise up your people, kick us out of bed, shake us from our sleep, throw water in our faces, whatever it takes.  Get us back where we need to be, just sharing your love with the world constantly.  Thank you, Jesus, for dying for my sins.  Thank you for loving me enough to do that, and then loving me enough to move in my life.  You didn’t just give me a book that details your love, you give me signs and events, blessings and opportunities, favor and peace.  I feel you, Lord, and I see you, and I sing praises to your holy name.  You are my king forever, I pledge myself to you.  Establish your kingdom in my heart, my home, my city, my nation, and my world.  Explode with power in our world, God, please bring a fresh wave of love and mercy upon this planet.  We need you.  We look to you, Lord, because that’s the only place where our salvation comes from.  Thank you for all that you are.  Thank you for answering prayers.  Bless those that have blessed me.  Do something in their lives that they’d never expect, something they’ve never seen before, and something that is undeniably you.  Your will be done on this day.  In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.

Well I love you guys.  I don’t know about you but I’ve experienced some incredible moves of God this week.  He loves us to levels that we can’t even imagine.  I pray that you all feel that love as we move into the weekend.

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