A Gifted Masterpiece

The first time I saw a photo of this sculpture, I was amazed at the intricate beauty and marveled at the artistic skill of the sculptor, known as David d’Angers. His real name was Pierre-Jean David, and he was born in 1788 in the city of Angers in France. His impressive works are on display in a museum there. He was world-renowned for his beautiful creations, and in his day was commissioned for works by many countries. He even contributed to the Louvre and the Arc of Triumph in Paris.

We stand awe-struck at human creations of superior skill and beauty. We close our eyes and are transported by touching musical compositions (or we don’t want a great book to end!) We’re created to be sensitive to these things. It’s unique to humans and for good reason. Not only do we respect the artist for years of training and innate skill, but we resonate with creativity and beauty, being made in the image of our Creator God.

Impressionist painting by Claude Monet

But consider this: We are God’s workmanship. Some Bible translations use the words God’s masterpiece, more stunning and intricate than the most celebrated works of art, visual or literary created by masters over the centuries. You might not feel that way, but we humans are the pinnacle of God’s creation, making David’s spectacular sculpture fade by comparison.

True, we are his creation, but we are also his “little creators.” We bear his image, not only in how we’re made on the inside but in what we do and create. Don’t ever sell yourself short for the abilities he’s given you. It’s one of the ways we fellowship with him. He’s our Creator, and he’s given us the joy of creation. Maybe you need training, but the skill is there because God put it there. And thankfully, we don’t all have the same talents and skills. I’m a writer and you may be an amazing seamstress or carpenter. You may not be that great at drawing, but maybe you sing like an angel or make a mean pound cake.

It’s not egotistical to recognize where God has gifted us, as we realize the gifts have come from him. Let’s remember that he gifts us for a purpose. We glorify him when we recognize our gifts when we develop them, and especially when we use them to the fullest in humility, empowered by him and for his glory (and for our enjoyment and that of others.) And even if your life is fully occupied with other tasks and people, finding a little corner for your creativity (in whatever form that takes) will supply energy and passion to do the tasks that fill your day.

So, here’s God’s purpose

“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.” Eph. 2:10

We’re his masterpiece, but he allows us to create masterpieces as well. He’s planned that for us long ago. Don’t you find that exciting? God the Creator has ordained your good works, skills, and creativity, long ago. It pleases him for us to use these gifts because we’re made in his image. Little creators. We’re both gifted and masterpieces.

How to Respond?

There are right and wrong ways to respond. First, the wrong way.

  1. Trying to do something with God-given gifts in my own strength without his supernatural empowering
  2. Holding back from using my gifts because of fear of failure, fear of pride, or fear of anything else.

The right way?

  1. Praising and thanking God for his gifting, recognizing we are his loved masterpiece
  2. Offering our gifts and lives back to Him in worship and dedication for his work and will through us
  3. Stepping out boldly in his power “…depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.” Col. 1:29

Years ago, I discovered a booklet called “31 Days of Praise” by Ruth Myers. It was so meaningful that I wore out and gave away many copies of it. As the title suggests, the author presents Scriptural prayers of praise on different topics over 31 days. I’d like to quote a small paragraph from Day 9: “Thank You that I can enjoy my strengths and gifts without pride or false modesty as I give You the credit for them, praising You rather than congratulating myself. What do I have that I did not receive from You? All that I am and all that I have comes from You. It is all sustained by you, and I want it all to glorify You!… I specifically thank you for: …” (You can fill in the blank for your own life!)

What a way to super-activate the gifts God has given us! Give them right back to him and allow him to guide and energize us.

“By the grace of God I am what I am.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

How would you complete these sentences?

God has divinely equipped me to . . .

He has placed me . . .   for . . .

I hope you feel encouraged (and gifted!) today as you read these words. God is so gracious to allow us all to be co-creators and co-gifted with him! And his plans for your life precede his creation of the earth!