The handiwork of God
There is a man who played electric guitar for years in our Sunday services. During the other days of the week, he can be heard reliving classic rock tunes with his band at local venues.
When the average person looks at his guitar they see a beat up, well used, dented slab of wood that looks like it should be sitting in a pawnshop somewhere for $100. However, for the studied eye, it is an original 62 Fender Stratocaster that would sell for more than $10,000!
That guitar makes me think of the apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:8–10:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
As we look toward Easter, we are reminded that we have been saved by grace through faith – not through anything we have done. Therefore, we don’t have anything to boast about.
Many people embrace the truth of verse 9 but fail to accept verse 10 that we are God’s handiwork. This word is πoiημa (poiema) from which we get the word poem. When Paul tells us “not to boast,” it is in respect to earning our own salvation through work, not in respect to our intrinsic value and purpose.
Like the average observer who only sees the worn guitar, not recognizing the true value of the 62 Strat, we too often put more stock in how others see us versus the value our Creator sees in us.
Ephesians 2:9 often leads us to beat ourselves up (a twisted interpretation of not boasting) to bring more glory to God. But the beauty of an instrument does not take away from the glory of the creator or the player.
The Master is purchasing the masterpiece he built. He has bought it to display it, and also to play it. Therefore, we are created for good works that God has prepared for us. This is for His glory and for our joy.
—Matt Dyck is campus pastor at SunWest Christian Fellowship in Calgary. This article first appeared in “Waiting for the Resurrection,” a daily devotional for the season of Lent, published by Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary.