My husband and I have been privileged to visit some world-famous art museums. I consider it a privilege; my husband considers it a marital concession. Nonetheless, we’ve seen everything from Michelangelo’s “Sistine Chapel” to Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,” which reminds me of old pictures of some of my dead relatives. I guess they didn’t have much to smile about in those days. Speaking of smiles, we have even gazed upon da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.”
Once we went to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, which exhibits her collection of Cubism, Futurism, Metaphysical, and Surrealism. Here we’re talking abstract work by such renowned artists as Picasso, Dali, and Jackson Pollock.
Not being a big fan of abstracts, I still found the artwork interesting. To me Pollack’s paintings always look like someone took a bunch of worms, dipped them in various colors, and let them squiggle around a huge canvas creating a big mess. But art is in the eye of the beholder. What one person considers beautiful, another considers odd or, for want of a better word, ugly. However, both Pollack and da Vinci are considered masterful artists. Their paintings are worth more money than most of us will ever see.
When I read Ephesians 2:10, I think about artwork because it says: “For we are God’s masterpiece” (NLT). As masterpieces go, I feel more like a Pollack painting, a bunch of disjointed colors flaring here and there, than da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” with every hair in place. All right, so she lacks eyebrows. She is still considered the most famous painting in the world. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I’m glad, because even though I may not think of myself as beautiful, God does. After all, he calls me his masterpiece.
Some translations use the word “workmanship” instead of masterpiece, which gives the impression it is referring to physical attributes. And it is true that as God’s creation we demonstrate his genius in every designed detail of our bodies. We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 129:14).
However, being God’s “workmanship” has deeper meaning than God bringing us into existence. Perhaps that is why some translations use “masterpiece” and many commentaries refer to it. Ephesians 2:10 says: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus…” (NLT). These scriptures are not referring to physical creation, but spiritual. In other words, Jesus Christ living in us gives our lives the highest value.
As an analogy to art, we are both finished in Christ and a work in progress that God loves spending time with. We are valuable and important to him. A valuable work of art is worth its weight in gold, but Jesus bought us with the highest price of all — he gave his life (1 Corinthians 6:20).
It doesn’t matter if I feel like a Jackson Pollock painting and have to spend some days just asking God to “bless this mess.” He loves me and can use me for his glory in spite of my flaws. His life in me gives mine value. I am God’s masterpiece — and so are you!
Author: Barbara Dahlgren