[Willow Creek Association] 1998-08-26 - What Do You See?

Ezekiel 34:23-24 (NCV) Then I will put over them one shepherd, my servant David. He will feed them and tend them and be their shepherd. 24 Then I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David will be a ruler among them. I, the LORD, have spoken.

My six-year-old son was recently given an old wooden bedroom suit that belonged to his great-great-grandfather. I did not know what to expect this bed to look like, but I have to tell you, I was not expecting much from it. My low expectations were met when I went to pick it up. The suit was fairly massive and had some hand-carved detail, yet it was dark and cold-looking to me. The finish on the wood was nearly black, the hardware was tarnished and dull, the drawers nearly fell apart when the ones that would open were opened. The mirror on the dresser was cracked and the top was stained with years of watermarks and other blemishes of over a hundred years of neglect. I thought to myself, "not in my house, is this bedroom suit going." This bed, at best, could be used as a dust collector in the attic along with the other junk up there.

My son was thrilled when he saw the bedroom set. I sighed and told him that the one he has is much better, but he was not convinced. I thought to myself, "well maybe if I have this junk refinished it would not look quite so bad." So I lugged the set out to a retired gentleman who restores furniture. I hesitated to open the door on the truck when I arrived at his shop. My expectation was for him to either pronounce the bed "dead on arrival" or to politely decline the job of restoring it.

Mr. Whitaker took one look at the bed and his face beamed with a smile of pleasure; his eyes seemed to sparkle with joy. I stood there watching his reaction and was baffled at his look of anticipation at seeing the rest of this bedroom set. As we unloaded more furniture, his smile grew bigger. Finally he said, "son, what you have here is a wonderful walnut bedroom set with the original hardware, which is prized by many antique collectors." He informed me the bed was made in the late 1800's and was a prized piece of history, as well as a marvelous heirloom for my son to pass on to one of his kids. Needless to say, I was shocked.

Where I saw junk, someone who appreciates great craftsmanship saw beauty. What does God see in you?

Others saw David as a simple shepherd boy; God saw a King. All throughout the Bible God sees the uniqueness and potential in the characters of the Bible. God sees the potential in you, too. We often allow the world to shape our view of ourselves. We allow the negativism of certain circumstances in our lives to play over and over in our minds, telling us again and again we are nothing, that we have no or limited potential. Some hear a parent saying, "you will never do that," or "you can't do this." Some hear a former or even a present boss being critical of their work. Some hear a spouse or former spouse telling them over and over, that they are failures or that they will never amount to anything. Some hear a teacher or professor embarrassing them in class and implying they don't have what it takes to be successful people.

When did God first start dealing with your life?

Ephesians 1:44 (NCV) That is, in Christ, he chose us before the world was made so that we would be his holy people-people without blame before him.

Jeremiah 1:5 (NCV ) Before I made you in your mother's womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work.

Psalm 139:13 (NLT) You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb.

God started dealing with you and me before the beginning of time. He is the Master Craftsman of our lives. God sees great potential in each of us, as well as the beauty beneath our battered, tarnished and neglected self-images. God sees past our failures and our unsuccessful attempts to be more pleasing to Him. He sees His work in each of us. God knows your potential, and God's work is always perfect. What do you see in you? Do you see what God sees?

Lord, move us from our past. Help us to bury the negativism that haunts us and keeps us from being what You knitted us to be. Lord, help us to understand our role in this world, and to fulfill Your plan for our lives. Help us to be all that You intend us to be. Grant us the wisdom to follow Your leading. Give us peace in knowing that You started dealing with us before the beginning of time. Help us to remember our worth in Christ, Your only Son whom You gave to us, so that we may live. In His name, Amen.