Jesus often spoke in parables. He first pointed out something His Listeners knew very well. Then He said, in effect, “You see, it’s like this.” And then He would link the material world to the spiritual world.
Recently we had a floor covering experience. As I was reflecting on what happened, I felt God whispering, “You see, your life is like this.”
Pride Goes Before a Fall … Proverbs 16:18
The laminate floor in our house was once beautiful. It resembled real hardwood, but really it was just a clever photograph of the real thing.
Everyone commented on our beautiful floor. As we received more and more compliments on it, we became proud. We worked to keep it looking good. We regularly polished it to a shine.
But, unknown to us, our selected polish was slowly destroying the floor. At first it was subtle. We didn’t notice the floor was actually becoming dull. Its former beauty was hidden under layers and layers of polish.
When we began to notice the problem, we switched to another brand of polish. But alas, it only made things worse. Finally, in desperation, we decided to remove all the polish and start over.
However, this was not as easy as we thought. For months, we tried different products to remove the polish. But the polish seemed to have glued itself to the laminate wood. And the places where we got glimpses of what was beneath the polish were not pretty. Cracks … wrinkles … wood goop.
With sadness, we conceded we were out of ideas. We consulted a flooring expert. After reviewing a variety of options, we decided to replace the floor with hardwood.
The Work of the Master Craftsmen
I am sending you a master craftsman … 2 Chronicles 2:13
Joe and Mike arrived and went to work. We watched in amazement, as they quickly cut through the old floor and disposed of it. But the dusty subfloor that lay beneath was not pretty either.
As Joe and Mike cleaned up every speck of dust, we reminded ourselves that this was a process. We were happy the old marred floor was gone and we anticipated what was to come would be even better.
The rebuilding began. As they pulled each board from the box, they inspected it closely. Any flawed wood was rejected. The beauty of real wood is that each board is unique. Each board shows traces of its former self in colors and markings. Some boards show faint evidence of tough times it once endured. Some boards show near perfect rings of growth when its life must have been regular and progressing as planned.
Joe and Mike cut and fit each board into just the right place. What looked like a pile of diverse boards soon began to show signs of being so much more than the individual parts. In the hands of the master craftsmen, the pieces were becoming part of a glorious whole.
To our delight, Joe and Mike worked with joy. They brought music — all types — country, oldies, classical. Not only was our house filled with the sound of sawing and hammering, but it was also filled with merriment. We found ourselves singing and laughing and enjoying the company of two men, who not only knew what they were doing, but also did it with joy.
And then the day came when the last board was laid. Mike signed both his name and Joe’s on the back of the board and dated it. The Work was signed by the Artist! The floor will remain even more valuable to us, because we know just where the signature board is. It will be an ever present reminder of a special time in our lives when we saw creation up close.
Jesus Taught, Using Parables.
Then He told them many things in parables … Matthew 13:3
In reflecting upon our flooring experience, God brought to mind how like our lives, the flooring story was.
We once thought ourselves pretty good Christians. In fact, we were a somewhat clever replica of the real thing. We responded to every polish the world offered to look more beautiful, more successful, more prosperous, more fulfilled and happy.
But somewhere, our plans failed. We stopped being able to hear God or even respond to His People because we were covered by all the worldly things that were supposed to make us look good.
We recognized we had a problem. We thought we could fix it. We didn’t want to ask for help because we really did not want anyone to know we had a problem. We tried to fix ourselves.
But things just got worse. We realized we needed to start over. But it wasn’t as easy as we thought. Old habits stuck to us. And if we ever succeeded in getting free, we were faced with seeing how empty and damaged we were. It was overwhelming.
The day came when we had to admit we couldn’t run our lives very well. We submitted to the Master — the One Who created us from the beginning. He knew our every crack and flaw … but He also knew the beauty He designed in us from the beginning. And He knew what it would take to restore us to that beauty.
But restoring meant giving up our covering. It meant allowing the Master to work and cut away the damaged parts of us. He did this with joy, not because He enjoyed destroying us … but because He enjoyed revealing the real us. I imagine Him working and singing!
He will take great delight in you;
in His Love, He will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing!”
When The Master had cut away all that was never His Design for us in the first place, He dusted us off and set about building a new covering for us. Truth be known, we thought He should throw out some parts that He didn’t throw out.
Some of those parts of our life looked a little spotty or irregular. While we would have preferred to just throw them out, the Master assured us that somehow they were all a part of our Life Story and that they were valuable. We didn’t see how that could be, but He seemed unconcerned about our lack of understanding. He just went right on working.
Bit by bit, the new “us” appeared. In the Hands of the Master, we somehow became Masterpieces. He signed off His Work by putting His Signature deep inside our very hearts. With each heart beat, we would be reminded He Himself had made us and continues to make us.
I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Thanks Be to God, Who Never Misses an Opportunity to Teach Us!
Thank You, Lord, for the real life Lesson. Thank You, for sending your servants to bring us the real life story in such a neat way. Thank You, for the new floor, which will be an ever present reminder that our lives are still being put together, piece by piece, by You.
For we are God’s Masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planed for us long ago!
What a Neat Touch, Literally!
At the end of our project, Joe and Mike agreed to pose for a picture. In a flair of creativity, my husband decided to take a panoramic shot, with Joe, Mike and me on both sides of the dining room.
In the quick spin around, I moved to put my hand on Joe’s shoulder. The picture came out with both of my hands at my side … and yet, a hand on Joe’s shoulder. Was it my hand … or perhaps … the Master HImself conveying His Approval?
He Who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
Then He said, “Write this down, for these Words are Trustworthy and True!”