So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Eph 2:19-22 (ESV)
I used to enjoy jigsaw puzzles as a child. I could not wait to rip open the box and start working on the picture inside. My first puzzle was the five piece wooden kind in a wood frame. They were simple to complete because the pieces where huge. As I got older I would try more difficult puzzles until I graduated to the 5000 piece variety. You had to be a real connoisseur of puzzles to tackle one of these monsters.
The basics were always the same, start with the straight edges, match the color groups, and then start to work on individual images inside the completed frame. Nothing was more frustrating than a missing piece. The gapping hole where that last piece should be stares back at you every time you look at the puzzle and you know it will never be complete unless that piece is found. You can not send away for missing pieces at a missing piece factory, you just have to discard the puzzle or live with it being incomplete.
It is unfortunate that many lives are left unfinished on lifeís table because they refuse to accept the missing piece that would make their life complete. Someone once said we have a God shaped piece missing within us. No matter what we try to force into that space it will not fit properly. It would be just like forcing a piece into the puzzle that just does not belong. Jesus is that missing piece that completes an otherwise unfinished life.
Finding the Right Piece
Life is much like that interlocking puzzle. Each piece has to be put into its proper place to complete the over all picture. The designer of the puzzle had a specific pattern from which he cut out the tiny pieces and then scattered them around. God is the master puzzle maker and He has spread His pieces throughout the world and is working toward bringing them together so the world can see the finished product. The puzzle looks like a mess inside the box and spread out all over the table top but it begins to take on character as each piece is fit into its proper place. You can not force a piece to fit where it does not belong because the piece next to it will not fit either and the whole puzzle will lose its focus and pattern.
Each piece must be placed exactly where it belongs and it must interlock with its neighbor in order for the whole puzzle to stay together.
A little girl was trying to get her fatherís attention because she wanted to play. The dad was busy working on something from work and did not wish to be interrupted at the time so he took a map of the world and cut it into tiny pieces and told his daughter to put it back together.
A few minutes later the young lady came in with the world put back together properly and the father was amazed at how quickly she did it. He asked her how she had put the map together so fast. She replied, ďOn the other side of the map was a picture of a man. Once I put the man together right the world was right as well.Ē
If we allow God to put us together right then the rest of the world will be right as well.
A Jumbled Mess
Some say the Bible is like a big jumbled mess much like the world is. It is only a mess if we do not have a pattern to follow. If you were to buy a puzzle of a 1000 pieces with no picture on the box to show you what it was supposed to look like, you might look at that box of pieces and say this is impossible. It is nothing but a big, jumbled mess. You could attempt to put it together and probably with enough time and effort you might just be able to figure out what it is supposed to be. The frame work should be pretty simple because all you have to do is connect all the flat sided pieces together. It is the filling in parts that would require a bit more trial and error.
How much easier it is when you have the picture to look at and to compare the finished product with. It is far easier to construct a puzzle when you can see what it is supposed to look like. Have you ever tried to assemble something without instructions? The more parts there are the more complex the project becomes. It is conceivable that you could assemble just about anything, without instructions, with enough experience and knowledge but it is still far easier and more efficient to utilize the instructions when provided.
A Pattern to Follow
The Bible is the instruction manual on how to live in this world. It is the BIG PICTURE around which we can pattern our lives. It is the framework for filling in the missing pieces. You and I are the pieces to Godís masterpiece. We need to be put where we belong and not stuffed in somewhere we do not fit. Being out of place is not only uncomfortable, but nothing around you fits well either. If you feel like your life is out of sync and disconnected, perhaps you are simply a misplaced piece in Godís overall Master plan.
If we take Jesus out of the Bible and out of the world, we have chaos and disorder, a place where nothing seems to make sense. When you filter the world through the prism of Jesus then it starts to take on meaning and purpose. The same is true of the sacred scriptures. If we remove Jesus from the ancient text and try to understand it from manís viewpoint it too appears to be chaotic and contradictory. With the Holy Spirit we see the scriptures from Jesusí viewpoint, then it takes on new meaning and is life changing.
Apart from Christ we are a box full of broken promises, unfulfilled dreams, hopelessness and longing. Through Christ our lives can be transformed into a masterpiece fit for Kingdom work and fulfillment.
God is the puzzle master, Jesus is the framework in which the Holy Spirit arranges the pieces of our lives to make something glorious and picture perfect.