I’ve had an ongoing correspondence with a man about spiritual things. We met under unusual circumstances and I learned, in a very tense and difficult situation, that this man identifies as a Christian. So do I. That led to a series of letters that started when he first reached out to me by “snail mail,” and has continued for several years. This fellow doesn’t have access to a computer, so it’s been a bit of a throwback for me to write letters “the old-fashioned way.”
A Work in Progress
A while back, he wrote me a letter that contained this candid confession: “I’m not a good Christian. I’m not a bad one either. I guess I’m what you would call “a work in progress.” He doesn’t have a lot of experience attending church, so I was struck by his insight. I responded that he is not alone, for this is true of all of us. Another letter, this one written long ago by the apostle Paul to a small church at Ephesus, said the same basic thing:
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
The fact is, we are all “pieces of work.” There is certainly something hopeful in realizing that we can become better people than we are, and our process of growing and improving is ongoing. Even after our less-than-stellar moments, we can “turn the page” knowing that we are, as John Mayer sang, “in repair.” But the remarkable thing is not so much that as it is WHO is doing the work. Did you catch that? We are God’s handiwork!
Up to the Task
And God is working on us so that we can do good works that benefit others around us. While we each have different talents, abilities, personalities, resources and opportunities, and the people within my reach who need help may be different than yours, it is still God working on us to make sure we are up to the tasks we’ve been given. Elsewhere Paul wrote about the unique giftedness that each person brings to building up the church :
“There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” (1 Corinthians 12:6)
Sign from Above?
The other day on the way to work I traveled through a major highway construction zone. It is one of those road projects that constantly snarls traffic, causes me countless headaches and seems like it will never be completed. As I inched forward in the line of traffic, I saw a sign that read “Under Construction.” I realized in that moment I knew exactly what that meant.