There is a gorgeous accent wall at my church, made of wood planks. For whatever reason, there is a single plank that always catches my attention. Tonight was no different. I opened my eyes to see it front and center to me. Anytime something continually catches my attention, I look for the lesson that God might be speaking to me through it. I take it as a “Here’s your sign” from the Lord. Yes, a lot of times I need that direct comment from Him to listen or in this case see.
As I thought about the plank, I realize it has a major imperfection. There is dark grain running vertical on the horizontal plank. If I had picked the planks individually, I would have put it back. I wouldn’t have used it, but the builder of the accent wall was looking at the overall purpose and aesthetics. Seeing the finished product, it is perfect.
As I kept thinking of my reaction to the plank, I realized there are still times I have that same attitude with God. I focus on all that is wrong with me. My present faults, failures, and shortcomings are many; that doesn’t even take into account my past. I wouldn’t have picked me, knowing all my imperfections.
Yet God does pick me. I wasn’t some random plank in a large slab of planks, that He purchased. I wasn’t someone He had to work with regardless of my imperfections because He had to have me to fill His purpose. He chose me. He chooses each of us individually. He sees all of our imperfections and stills says “That is the one I want to use.” I have come to realize that sometimes it is percisely in my imperfections that lead Him to use me. What better person to minister to a messed up person than someone who has walked the same path of failure and imperfection.
I also thought about how I am so focused on that one plank, that I don’t see the imperfections in the other planks. When I step back and look at the bigger picture, no one, except Christ, is perfect. When I take in the whole accent wall, many of the planks have knots, different grains that catch the color differently, and other imperfections.
Every person has different faults, failures, and shortcomings. There are areas that most of us would look at in our lives as disqualifiers for our use by God. When we see those same things in the lives of others, we can see the beauty in their testimony. We can highlight thier faults as a uniqueness in their personality. We see failures as a turning point to their overcoming. We see shortcomings as a reason for their merit to serve.
How often in my own life am I so focused on all that I’ve got wrong, that I think I am the only one with anything wrong? My imperfections are magnified in my eyes because I see them up close and personal. I need to give myself the same grace that God gives me, the same grace I give to others. I also need to see how my imperfections may work next to others for them to see the need for change, the potential for overcoming, or give merit to the magificant work of God. Others see me with the same grace I see them.
The final thing I saw, is that it is as we come together as a body that the true beauty in our lives is revealed. Alone, I might be set in the discard pile due to my imperfections. When I am submitted to Christ and working in unity with Him and those He has built me to be part of, I become asthetically pleasing. We were never designed to be alone. We are part of the body of Christ and our imperfections are covered in grace and forgiveness. We are sealed with the blood of Christ to bring glory to God. It is in our completeness as His body that we are able to fulfill what He designed us for, His plans and purpose.
Maybe, as I am sitting in church my eyes will not be drawn to this imperfect plank. I smile knowing if they do, I will know God is just wanting to remind me of His lessons.
That despite my imperfections:
- He chose me.
- I am not alone in my imperfections, but He can still use me for His purpose.
- My imperfections will be less noticeable when I am working in unity with Him and those around me.
- In my imperfections, His work will be seen and He will receive the glory.