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The Venus de Milo and Her Missing Arms

Thursday, January 3, 2019

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“We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the “intolerable compliment.” Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life—the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child—he will take endless trouble—and would doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.” – C.S. Lewis

As a child, one of my favorite board games was called Masterpiece. First produced by Parker Brothers in 1970, the game revolved around a series of famous paintings that were up for auction. Players bid on each work of art, not knowing its value, which changed every time you played.

Because I love Impressionism, I would usually bid on paintings by Manet, Monet and Renoir. However, depending on the “price tags” arbitrarily attached at the beginning of each game, they could be worth more – or less – than a Rembrandt, a Da Vinci, or a Picasso. They could even be labeled as a forgery, which was like picking up the “Old Maid” card.

Last week, our pastor reminded us that we are all God’s masterpieces. Despite our shortcomings, we were created in His image and likeness (see Genesis 1:27). Day by day, He takes out His tools and chisels away at our many imperfections.

That sounds like a painful process and, truth be told, it usually is. However, it is necessary if you don’t want to remain a formless block of marble.

My friend, don’t resist God’s refining work in your life and don’t get frustrated by how long it takes. Being conformed to Christ’s image (see Romans 8:29) is a lifelong process called sanctification.

Finally, don’t compare yourself and your spiritual progress to others. Remember, the Venus de Milo is considered a masterpiece… and she doesn’t have any arms!

“But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our Potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 (NKJV) See also Isaiah 29:16 and 45:9; as well as Philippians 1:6.

- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

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