On a recent, long car journey, the Lovely Mr B and I were listening to a podcast. Now this podcast, ‘Vinyl Emergency’, is not something I would have chosen to listen to (rather annoyingly, I came up with the great idea that as a perk of the job, the driver decides on the listening material for a journey) and I wasn’t driving!
However, much to my surprise, the guy being interviewed was really interesting and as well as being a vinyl collector was a stone mason by trade and his place of work was Westminster Abbey in London. I learnt that as well as being incredibly talented, Stone Masons spend years learning their craft. It is also a trade that has been around since the earliest civilisation and it seems man has always used tools to craft things, using the most basic of tools in the past, just think of the Egyptians and their pyramids or the Romans and their amazing architecture. Those were the days before heavy machinery and JCB’s were on the scene, but it didn’t stop them!
As he was talking about the tools he used, God really brought my attention to something he said during the interview. He talked about part of his toolkit consisting of tools that had been handed onto him by another stone mason and that the old tools had been honed over time by the craftsman who previously owned them and because of this they were able to do an excellent job.
Over time the tools had been lovingly used and cared for and fit the grip of the stone mason who owned them. They were ‘scarred’ with pot marks and dents from years of being used for their intended purpose, of carving stone. He talked about how he had done a long apprenticeship after college (now typically 3 years, but it used to be 7), under an experienced stone mason and he talked about working closely with him at all times. When he started, all he spent his time doing was ‘mixing up’ the mortar, then moving onto repairs before he was set loose crafting monuments.
He talked about how newbies coming into the trade were really keen to get to create the big, impressive looking pieces and had to learn pretty quickly that they had to work their way up to them and to scale down their lofty ideas and get on with mixing mortar and watching the more senior craftsmen. They soon learnt that they would have to spend years training before ever getting their hands on crafting a set of cherubs or something else quite grand. This was especially true if working somewhere as impressive, grand and full of history as Westminster Abbey, which is full of amazing sculptures and stone workmanship.
I loved it when he talked about how he imagined his grandchildren coming to Westminster Abbey and seeing some of the work their grandfather had sculpted and how he would be leaving a legacy for them. What a beautiful thought!
God reminded me that we are like his tools of the trade and that He is the master craftsmen. He created us for a purpose and in His hands we can be all we are meant to be, if we yield to Him and allow Him to mould us. Just like the tools, we become refined over time and yes, it can leave us with marks and blemishes as we do life, but that these are not something to be ashamed of because they show what we have been through and are more a badge of honour. We are constantly being honed for purpose and the marks and scars are just part of our journey as God transforms us from glory to glory. Every mark and scar along the way, God can use for His purpose, which I find mindbogglingly incredible and know this to be true in my own life.
2 Cor 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
We are designed that we will live our lives led by the Holy Spirit and to introduce those in the world around us to Jesus, pray for people leading them into freedom and to see people healed from physical and emotional difficulties and thus leave a legacy for others to step into and to go further than we have and see more than we have.
Isaiah 64: 8, Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
When we are in the God’s hands and yielded to the ultimate master craftsmen we are capable of amazing and wonderful things, for His glory. He can use imperfect tools (us) for His purposes but in His hands we become beautiful and we are then able to leave our mark on the world.
One of my favourite bits about this story is the way God can literally speak to us through any means and I love that He spoke to me through this podcast, even though I wasn’t keen to listen to it. I learnt a lesson that day that I am so grateful for and I am much more open to God speaking at any time, day or night, and I just have to keep my ears open because Papa is speaking ALL the time!
Mark 4:23 “If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”
God wants to use you to impact your sphere of influence and shine Jesus into a world that has never been more needy of His touch.
Are you open to hearing from God today?
Are you willing to be used by God to impact the world around you?
If the answer to those questions is yes, then get ready because Papa will take you at your word!
I have written a series on Spiritual Gifts and explained a little more about them. Find them here!