So, I stumbled across this insanely relaxing video of a guy crafting this gorgeous, semi-hollow body guitar...
...out of wood shelving.
Okay, did I lose you for 26 minutes?? It's all good—it had me hooked from the first second.
I can play guitar and make some things out of wood.
But, this guy's dedication and innate talent to create something this beautiful and functional blew me away—I may have felt slightly jealous at his playing ability too.
Workmanship at its Finest
His process reminded me of the Renaissance artists chizeling people out of lifeless slabs of marble.
And like those sculptors, this woodworker saw beauty and purpose in lifeless bookshelves. He worked them into a precision instrument, designed to harmonize, reverberate, and look elegant while doing it.
Now, when others pass by this guitar, they will feel compelled to hold it and to play it. It's workmanship at its finest, transforming mute objects into a piece of playable art.
Paul notes this transformation in Christ followers as well. Like those bookshelves, we once were dormant and without life...
"We [including Paul] all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath..." (Ephesians 2:3).
Then, Paul follows up with a beautiful "but."
(For real. Paul throws a "but" at the most important times...)
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4-7 (ESV)
Listen to Paul's crescendo of beauty here...
- Rich mercy
- Great love with which he loved us
- Made us alive together with Christ
- By grace you have been saved
- Seated us with him in the heavenly places
- Immeasurable riches
- Grace...kindness toward us in Christ Jesus
And the song climaxes here...
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV)
Our salvation is completely God's work.
And we are His workmanship, or intentional craftsmanship, "created in Christ Jesus for good works."
Though "works" can't save us, God purposed you and me to "walk in them."
As His workmanship, we were crafted through Christ to harmonize together, reverberate His praises, and shout to the world, "This Church was fashioned by God's good hand!"
So, when the world walks by and sees our actions, my hope and prayer is they see God's hand in every detail.
🍲 Let it Simmer
For those who like nerdy deep-dives and subtle notes in the sauce, this part's for you!
The Greek for "workmanship" is poiema, the word where we get "poem" in English. It's related to the verb poieo, which means to do, to work, to create, or to fashion.
When Paul says we are not saved by "works," it's a totally different Greek word. Instead, he uses ergon, which carries other nuances: toil, labor, occupation, enterprise, act, and deed.
Paul contrasts this kind of work — where you have to earn and toil for your wages— to the unearned "gift" of salvation. He's stressing that toiling for salvation is something we can never achieve since we are made alive through Christ's work, not our own.
We are created to walk and live in the same fashion as our Maker.
But — and the whole of Scripture points to this — God's people are crafted to exude His heart and character. So, when it says we are "created in Christ Jesus for good works [poiema]", we are created to walk and live in the same fashion as our Maker. In fact, the New Testament uses another form of poiema when referring to God as "Maker."
Many have compared us to God's "poem" since we get that word from poiema. But in the New Testament, it's used more broadly to refer to us as God's craftsmanship.
However! A poem is a piece of art, an intentional design, meant to communicate a clear, artful message.
I believe, we are crafted in the same way with intentionality and beauty.
All art, whether a poem or a handmade guitar, radiates something about its creator. And we have the privilege of radiating the heart of Christ.