masterpiece – ˈmastərˌpēs -- a work of outstanding artistry, skill or workmanship; an artist’s or craftsman’s best piece of work
When you think of a masterpiece, do you think of a specific piece of art?
Do you think of The Mona Lisa, or a sculpture like The Pieta?
Maybe your mind wanders to the Sistine Chapel, or you think of a beautiful piece of furniture put together by an expert craftsman.
MIchelangelo's Sistine Chapel
I think of art. After years of beautiful, inspired work and perfected skill, this one work stands out as the best. A masterpiece.
Imagine Jesus being interviewed by Oprah. Can you picture it? As He sits on her couch, and she probes Him about all of the wonders of His life, she finally asks this question, “Of all the things you have made, what would you consider your best work? What’s your masterpiece?”
Wouldn’t you believe that Jesus would begin talking about something big, like the Milky Way Galaxy. Isaiah 40 says He created all the stars, and brings them out one after another, calling each by name. When we study the Milky Way, we learn there are over 300 billion stars, and to travel from one end to the other would take 100,000 light years. Our solar system travels within our galaxy at a snail’s pace of 515,000 mph. You ever feel rushed? Now you know why! Even at this overwhelming speed, it would take 230 million years for our solar system to travel all around our home galaxy, The Milky Way.
These are only a few facts about our galaxy. Surely Jesus would look at Oprah, and say, “Let me tell you what I did with the Milky Way that no one even knows, yet. It is incredible, my best work.”
That’s not what He says, though. His answer is us. Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians, we are His magnum opus.
“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.”—Ephesians 2:10
Maybe if Jesus began to speak about someone else, we’d embrace the idea. I can almost believe He’d say, “When I knit Mother Teresa together in her mother’s womb, I made her so compassionate. She’s my greatest creation, my finest workmanship.”
But that’s not exactly what Ephesians tells us. He talks about her, but He is also talking about you and me. It's easier for me to imagine Him bragging on one of my friends, how they loved others, loved the least of these by starting an orphanage in another country, and gave so selflessly. I agree – yes, I can see they’re a masterpiece, and I can see it in you, too. My struggle (and I bet your struggle), is to imagine that Jesus would begin talking about me.
I cannot see the masterpiece in the mirror.
“Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved.’ Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” – Henri J. M. Nouwen
Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night
Our greatest journey is from accepting the truth that there is a God, to fully believing how much He loves us. It is a fight to fully receive the depth of His love, for each one of us.
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it.” – Psalm 139:13-14
“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep His love really is.” – Ephesians 3:18
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…” – John 3:16
Real truths like these are in verses all through the Bible. You have been fearfully and wonderfully made. We have an enemy, who works to convince us our Heavenly Father is disappointed in us, or angry with us. The truth, though, is that the Maker of Heaven and Earth considers you and me His masterpiece. And He has made a great sacrifice for us to be His.
When we receive and embrace this truth, we can begin to do those things He made us to do. There are things no one else can do. He set them aside for you, His masterpiece, to do.
Leonardo da Vinci's The Mona Lisa