"Stick tight to The Master's plan." It sounds easy enough; doesn't it? Actually, it's impossible for man to do alone. The best we can do is hold tight to His hand and trust that His plans are perfect, despite what we've been conditioned to believe by anyone/anything outside Him.
There was a time in my life when I was sure that I was doing the right things. But most of the things I was doing were based on either my own thoughts about what the “right” things were or upon the religion-born opinions of those whom I held in highest regard. I’d built a “life” for myself. One day, I looked around my feet and found myself to be standing in the center of a huge ash heap. I couldn’t very well rebuild with ashes, so I began to reconstruct a life altogether from the ground up.
All that time I spent building that life were not a total waste, however. I did pick up a few gems along the way without even knowing I was doing so. I learned what NOT to do in many circumstances. I also learned that there was a very high price paid for my life and God doesn’t want anything for me but the best, regardless of the opinions of well meaning Christians. But that knowledge didn’t keep me from trying to rebuild according to my own ideas, which I found is just as bad.
One of the first things I did was enroll myself at the Art Institute. It seemed the logical thing to do at the time, to build myself a future based upon that thing which I was most interested and talented in... art. I’d been attending there long enough to have gotten three-quarters of the way through getting my bachelor’s degree. That’s when the earth trembled under my feet and this new “life” I was building for myself crumbled to the ground. I looked at my surroundings and found very few remains that were intact enough to begin building again. I just didn’t have the strength or the tenacity to start all over. And besides, I didn’t have the finances to start all over.
All that time at the Art Institute and the money I put into it were not total losses, however. I did pick up a few gems along the way without even knowing I was doing so. And though I have no plans for returning to school there, the lessons I learned in studying Interior Design are quite useful to me in my new field -- Kingdom Design. Let me tell you about two of those precious gems:
Among the many classes I took was drawing. I wonder how much better an artist I would be today if I’d had art classes as a child. But I didn’t. I found myself surrounded by people half my age with twice my talent. I had to really listen to every word the instructor spoke and follow his directions without waver.
In my own words, something similar to what was said to our class: “Hand a child a box of crayons and tell them to draw a house. They’ll draw a square and a couple of rectangles for a door and a window. They might even put a little circle for a doorknob. Then, they’ll put a triangle for a roof. If they’re real creative, you might get some semblance of a pet, quite often half dog and half cat. They’ll make a cloud out of squiggly lines, a swing set out of triangles, and a flower with no depth to its petals.”
The man wasn’t building up my self esteem. :::sigh::: But, surely, I could at least pass his class with a D. So I gave my all to the drawing challenge he had for us. He handed out pictures of an old man and told us all to draw the man, “...just a quick sketch.” There’s nothing “quick” about my sketches, but I did my best, quick job and, no big surprise, it was horrid, especially when I compared it to the drawings of my younger, more talented classmates.
“Now, turn the picture upside down, the top of his head being at the bottom of the page, and draw it again. This time, draw what you see and not what you think you see. This practice is to teach you to look at your model from every angle, every plane, every highlight.”
All said and done, I passed that class with an A. Amazing! I was sure I managed that grade because I was determined not to be made a fool of and I worked extremely hard. But the truth is, I’d learned to really see the way I was intended to see... by putting my own thoughts and opinions away. Yes, there was a huge difference in the second sketch. Now, wouldn’t it be nice if every Christian you know, including ourselves, would put away their own thoughts to search every angle for what God’s thoughts might be? It would certainly make a difference in how our Kingdom work comes out looking. I, somewhat unfortunately, had to learn the hard way how truly futile my own thoughts can be.
The second gem I picked up at the Art Institute was quite similar to the other one. Only this time, the class was Drafting I. It doesn’t allow for individual style. It demands precision and doesn’t allow for chance. We were just learning how to use our drafting pencils, how to center our project, and how to follow simple, but predetermined lines. It seemed simple enough. However, it was only day one and every one of us got our work handed back to us with bold red print: “REDO.” It was a simple mistake, but every one of us made it. There was one line that seemed to be off, so we moved it to fit where we thought it should be. We even got red marks for lines that were too thick or too thin, too bold or too light, or the slightest pencil marks anywhere on the paper except for the lines.
Again, in my own words, something similar to what was said to our class: “Your jobs are so important, even if it is the architect who will get all the credit for your work. Whatever instructions he/she gives to you must be followed to the exact specifications. Imagine that your blueprints make it into the builder’s hands and they are off by an inch or two. The foundation gets laid according to the blueprints you drew up and then, the rest of the house plans won’t fit properly onto the foundation. It isn’t the builder’s fault. He followed instructions... your instructions. Now, it’s different if he assumes that your plans must be off by an inch or two because they just don’t look right to him. In that situation, when things don’t turn out right, the builder must take the losses and redo the job. Your concern should be to follow the architect’s plans with exact precision.”
Our instructor was gracious enough not to write our grades for that lesson down. I don’t think that God, The Master Architect, will fire us or give us bad grades for making mistakes. He even erases some of our lines for us and gives us a chance to try it again. It’s a hands on training kind of job... this Kingdom building... learning and leaning as we go.
He gives us a specific instruction manual to follow. Although it is filled with specifications that leave no room for even slight discrepancies, (“narrow is the path”) it’s also filled with depth that changes our vision when we look at it from every angle, every plane, every highlight. After all, the Word was with God and was God, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Daily, we behold His glory. We behold it in the work of His hands. And God is Love. How deep is that Love? How multi-dimensional is that Love? How multi-dimensional and yet, how precise is the Word of God?
I recall reading or hearing something recently that struck a chord in my heart. I don’t recall who said it or wrote it, but I’m pretty sure Who directed the symphony: “You work on Kingdom building while I build My Church.” That’s probably not word-for-word, but the message is the same. We are called to be designers in the image of The Master Architect. What a wonderful plan! However, sometimes I feel as inadequate for the job as I did that day in drawing class. Line by line, day by day, I’m learning not to lean on the things I think I see, but to trust that The Master Architect’s instructions are perfect and beautiful beyond anything I could ever create alone.
The following is a song that I woke up to this morning:
My precious little jewel,
I’m your Father and your Friend.
I’m singing you a new song
about a message that you’ll send.
It’s all about My Kingdom
and it’s all about my plan.
You only need, My Precious,
to hold your Father’s hand.
I was there when you fell down
and I heard you when you cried.
It wasn’t because you failed
and I know just how hard you tried.
Draw near to Me, My Precious.
This isn’t too much to bear.
Just a little longer, now.
My Love, you’re almost there.
Take the hand of your neighbor
with the hand not holding Mine.
But don’t let go of My hand
and you will get it right this time.
I leave My Kingdom to you
and I trust you with the plan,
a Kingdom built on loving
yourself and fellowman.
Look up, now, My Little Dove,
there’s your promised land in view --
perfect place to build My Church
and I'm building it, Love, in you.
Yes, I’m going to bless you.
Just keep holding tight My hand.
You’re almost there... almost there...
Follow the Master Plan.
© Joyce Pool
Genesis 13:17 "Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you."
Acts 26:16 "But arise, and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you."
Romans 11:29 "For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."
Proverbs 3:3-4 "Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man."
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