Devotion: The Divine Sculptor

then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. ~Genesis 2:7

And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” ~Matthew 4:19

A few weeks ago, I broke out my tools and sought to sculpt a cross for our Palm Sunday service. As I hammered the dowles in to symbolize the nail marks, I thought of the work it would take to break through flesh with a spike. As I rubbed the mahogany stain across the wood with a towel, I considered the blood that would have been wiped down. Bought most poignantly was when I hand chiseled out the notch to attach the cross beam, it struck me that the very tools that Jesus–as a carpenter’s son–would have been taught by his father to use were the very tools that were used to crucify Him.

Chipping away at the wood, I saw how the Creator God is our divine sculptor.

In sculpting there are two ways of creating art:blog_sculpture2000

  • additive
  • reductive

In additive sculpting, the artist gathers up the medium (clay, bronze, etc.) and brings it together into a new design. They patch holes and fill cracks.
In reductive sculpting, the artist chisels away the medium (stone, wood, etc.), softening the harsh edges, smoothing the bumps, and knocking off the excess material.

Both result in masterpieces-but as my art professor taught me in the first day of my first course: Make sure you are using the right tools for their right purposes. Because using a chisel on clay will destroy it, and putting glue on marble will glob it up.
Therefore, we have to recognize what the goal is as we seek to design and create.

And these are the two ways that God works in our life. Either he gathers us up–like Adam in the garden–patches holes and pulls together the loose pieces in order to breathe new life into the mess; or he takes a chisel to knock away the imperfections, and sandpaper to smooth out our egos.

As I studied the life of Christ over Lent, I discovered its rather simple…there are only two ways God engages His people: either he builds up the brokenhearted, or he humbles the hardhearted.

Ultimately though, God is creating the same thing: Disciples.

The final thing that struck me was Jesus’ word that He will “make” us fishers of men. This word in Greek can be translated as “construct, form or fashion.” Therefore, God is using His tools to shape you into fishermen. Which ever process He is using in your life, He is making you into a new creation to be used by Him.

So, which way is God working in your life?
What areas of your life need to be patched up and built up?
What areas of your life need to be sanded, smoothed and chiseled away?

One thought on “Devotion: The Divine Sculptor

  1. This is great Wes. Pretty sure I’m coming out of an intense period of God doing some reductive sculpting on me. It also dawned on me the parallel between God’s breathing life into Adam and Christ breathing on the disciples in John 20:22. Perhaps a digression.
    Thanks for the always poignant reminder that God is the sculptor and we are merely his medium.

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