By Cal Jernigan – Senior Pastor
Stonehenge in England; the Great Wall of China; Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota; the Mona Lisa in France.
Each is famous. Each was designed intentionally. Each is breathtaking in its own way.
Each of us has heard of famous places and famous things. We have seen pictures of these things. We might have seen them highlighted in a documentary. We have probably tried our best to imagine what they actually are like, but until we see them in person, everything else is just a replica.
One of these things I can now check off my list. This week, I was there! I saw it with my own eyes!
This week, I found myself in the Accademia Gallery, in Florence, Italy.
It was there that I saw it… it was everything I imagined it to be. Actually, it was even more.
What did I see? The Statue of David, the most famous of Michelangelo’s sculptures.
It was simply stunning. Much larger and much more defined than I imagined. It was simply breathtaking. How he created this simply defies imagination.
Michelangelo was the quintessential Renaissance man. He was an architect, painter, sculptor, and poet. He was simply one-of-a-kind. His skills and giftedness simply defy explanation. You cannot visit Rome, Florence or Italy without seeing his work and his influence.
And so it was when I saw his masterpiece… David.
But, believe it or not, this masterpiece was not the thing that most impacted me regarding this genius. It was instead what was on display in the hall in the gallery just before you got to the statue of David. There the gallery’s curators had placed six “incomplete” sculpture works of Michelangelo. Think of them as things on his “to-do” list. He simply didn’t get to finish them before he died.
They are statues waiting to be set free; works of art crying out to be released. But tragically they are locked in marble. Study each of the attached pictures closely, and you will understand this better (yes…actual pictures taken with my iPhone!). You can see the design, the “big idea” and even the individual chisel marks. What you can’t see is the finished product. They aren’t finished, and they will never be finished. The artist died too soon for this.
Why is this so impacting to me? When I gazed upon these, I couldn’t help but think of several very important scripture passages. Read these closely as well,
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” New Living Translation (NLT)
Philippians 1:6 “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
You see, when we first give our lives to Christ, he begins work in us, and on us, and through us that will take a lifetime to complete. The truth is… we all need much work! It requires a lifetime. But he will not give up on us; he will not abandon us. He will keep chipping away until we grow up into the image of Christ. This is mind blowing when you grasp it!
Now, back to David for just a moment. Legend has it that Michelangelo, when asked how he actually created David out of the marble block was said to respond, “I just kept chipping away on everything that wasn’t David until only David was left.” (Various versions of this story exist, no one knows if any are factual.)
None-the-less, take comfort in knowing this is exactly what God, the greatest Sculptor of all is doing in your life today. He has a plan for your life. There is a design he is working from. He knows what he is doing, and he is doing it intentionally! Today you will find him simply chipping away at all the things aren’t truly you. One day, before you know it, against all odds, the real you will be set free.
You see, YOU are God’s masterpiece! And, despite the pain of being chipped away at, you are in the Master’s hands! For this is how masterpieces are created!Click here for the photo credit on this post