Devotions: Ephesians 2—Wood for a clock
“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”
Ephesians 2: 4-6
My son visited recently, and was chopping firewood in our backyard. This son has the hands and eyes of a master carpenter. As he was splitting the pieces of ash that we had lost a few years ago, he turned to me and said, “Would you like a clock out of this wood?” I was surprised—it was just firewood, and I couldn’t see how he could possibly make one of his beautiful clocks out of it. But he took some of the pieces he had split and went to the work bench, and began chiseling and planing them. Slowly, useable boards began to emerge under his hands.
This incident came at the same time I’d been reading Ephesians. Chapter 2 is a eulogy to God’s grace—we, who were dead in our sins, unable to help ourselves, disobedient, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature, and in short, objects of wrath destined for fire, God took us and transformed us. He made us alive in Christ, He seated us with Him in the heavenly realms, and by His workmanship, He turns us into masterpieces of His grace. He even gives us purpose, by telling us that He has created us for work that He has prepared in advance for us to do. What a transformation—objects of wrath turned into masterpieces of God’s artistry! And we see the Artist’s power even more clearly, when we see that it is not the quality of the materials, but His skill and grace that make this transformation possible.
Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in places where the church is being newly established. Sometimes missionaries in moments of frustration and weakness look out on the work they are doing and say, “This is hopeless. They will never change.” Yet, the same God who is transforming our wrath-filled hearts into masterpieces is doing a work in theirs. And as we, over time, step back to appreciate his craftsmanship, he receives all the glory. And one day, when we are all gathered before the throne—together with ones from every tribe, language, people, and nation—we will more clearly see the works of art he was creating all along.