The sad state of this plant wasn’t meant to be a visual object lesson, but the shriveled leaf speaks volumes. The plant and hymn combine for a message I didn’t plan.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV)
Have you ever wondered what you are here for? Things in life can be overwhelming. I am so thankful that there is a clear purpose given to us by God. Knowing that we are His brings the greatest comfort. Reading Ephesians 2:10 I think of Pastor Dan’s southern voice saying the Greek word “poema.” He reminded us that this word rendered “workmanship” is where the word poem comes from. Pastor Dan pointed us here to tell us that we are God’s masterpiece.
A masterpiece has value.
Where does that value come from? It comes from the master, the creator, the artist. The canvas and paint don’t themselves have such value. When the artist holds the brush and fulfills the purpose he set out to do, this is where the value is. The master sees it from the beginning. He finishes the work, then others recognize it as a masterpiece.
When I seek to gain praise for myself, I’m wrong.
Our intrinsic value is fully dependent on God. You and I are God’s “poema,” His masterpiece.
We must not separate the creation from the Creator. Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. He left heaven’s glory to dwell among sinful humans. He lived glorifying the Father by living out the Father’s will. He let God paint and write His art, submitting fully to the Master’s plan and hands. When He knew His father would be painting in red, He prayed, wept, and prayed “Not my will, but Yours be done.”
“39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’ 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’ 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.’” (Luke 22:39-46 ESV)
Then Jesus was arrested, punished as a criminal, though judged to be innocent (Luke 23:13-16), and crucified. How could this be God’s will? Punishment for our sin had to be given. This was our only hope.
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6 ESV)
How many times has my focus been on me, instead of the One who took my iniquity? My eyes must be fixed on my Savior. To surrender to God is to live out our purpose. There is nothing more fulfilling!
Jesus died. Yet He lives! This is our hope.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 These are verses that many people learn first. Our works did not save us and our works will not save us. Our faith, our absolute reliance on God, is evidenced by our actions. We have received a gift. We have no boast. Let’s share His resurrection! Jesus is Victor over death and sin! (I Corinthians 15:55-57) The world needs this good news. We are Christ’s ambassadors (II Corinthians 5:20-21).
Salvation is found in no other name. This we believe.
Grace alone. Faith alone. Christ alone. Scripture alone.
Because He lives, we can face tomorrow.
You are holy. You are the giver of life. Please forgive me, Lord. I’ve walked my own way and sought my glory and good instead of You. Thank you that you will finish what you’ve begun. Thank you for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus! Cause me to share the hope that is found in you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Questions to Ponder:
Salvation is by grace through faith. How does that make you feel?
Why is it comforting to know that God is the master artist?
How can we live out the call to be ambassadors for Christ, right now?
Here’s the song, Because He Lives, sung by the Gaithers.
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