Thursday, February 13, 2020

Shaped by the Master

By David A. Sargent

    Cubby Sellers recently described some projects that he enjoyed with his dear friend, Elton Love: “I went with Elton a few times to cut some wood. Most people would think that we were cutting firewood. But with Elton, after the tree was cut down, he would look at the end of the log to see how the grain of the wood looked. Then he would measure the length he wanted, make a mark, and we would cut it again. Then he checked the grain again at the both ends, made his mark, and cut it so as to split the log length-wise. We would repeat this process until we had all the wood he needed.
    "Later he would take a piece of that wood, place it onto his wood turning lathe, and work with it for some time. All the while, woodchips and sawdust would be flying all around him. And then as if some magic had happened, he would have a beautiful hand-turned wooden bowl. The wood grain was clearly in view and stood out beautifully. Then I understood why Elton had looked at the end of that log and made the decision about which way to make to cut to split the log.
    "Elton taught me how to take a plain old piece of firewood and turn it into something beautiful, a piece of hand-turned wooden art. Those were some good times that we shared together and the woodturnings that we made are artworks that I will cherish forever.”
    Notice again Cubby’s statement: “Elton taught me how to take a plain old piece of firewood and turn it into something beautiful, a piece of hand-turned wooden art.”
    I love that statement. I love it because it reveals one of Elton’s incredible talents. I also love it because it reminds me of the Master Carpenter, Jesus Himself.
    Jesus was the son of a carpenter and likely was taught the trade by His earthly father, Joseph. Think about how, like Elton, Jesus would have been taught to look at a piece of wood and “turn it into something beautiful, a piece of hand-turned wooden art.” What houses did Jesus help build? What types of furniture, perhaps?
    But it was PEOPLE in which Jesus was most interested. He could look at a person and see what he or she could become with His skillful hands.

    Here’s an example: when Andrew brought his brother, Simon, to Jesus, Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas (which is translated, A Stone)” (John 1:42). “Jesus looked at him” – and He saw what Simon was, what He would do – including the blunders he would make – but also what He could make of Him. Jesus saw that He would make Him into a “Rock” in the kingdom, a powerful proclaimer of the Gospel, the Good News (see Acts 2).
    Jesus took “an old piece of firewood” and made it into a wonderful piece of art. He did that for Peter. He wants to do that in each of our lives. And He will, if we will only submit ourselves to Him in obedience to His will. He will conform us into His own image (Romans 8:29). That is the greatest Image of all.
    Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins. Now, He lives to mold us into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18).
    God will save and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will continue to cleanse from sin and mold the lives of those who continue to submit to His will (1 John 1:7-9).
    Won’t YOU submit your life to the hands of the Master Carpenter so that He can save you and mold you more and more into His image?

- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:

P.S.  In loving memory of my friend and brother in the Lord, Elton E. Love. I love the work that Christ did in his life.

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