Today, I was a mess. And, by mess I mean that I was covered with some stuff that wasn’t mine and didn’t come off easily. It got everywhere, covered everything and even made it dangerous for people to walk near it. Sawdust was the stuff that made me messy today.
I’ve been working on a small project at home for a couple days and today I was really getting into it. As the power tools gnawed into the wood, the sawdust took to flight. And boy did it fly. Sawdust Into the air, onto the floor, into my lungs, into my eyes. Sawdust; everywhere. Yeah…it was a good moment.
Who minds getting a little dirty when you’re building something? Not this guy. It was actually kind of one of the best moments of the week! What great satisfaction as I worked with my hands and the fruit of my labor was so obvious and immediately visible. Even those tiny bits of wood were a testament to the work I was doing and the inevitable finished product that would soon arrive.
Sawdust? I don’t mind. It means something important would soon emerge from the wood.
Scripture tells us that during the early years of his life, Jesus was a carpenter. The people used this against Jesus in Mark 6:3; implying that the guy they knew as Mr. Fix-it couldn’t be some great spiritual leader. They definitely had a hard time believing he was God! Not me. I love that the “author and finisher of our faith” had hands-on experience creating and finishing things during his earthly life before his public ministry began (Hebrews 12:2).
Jesus is still crafting. I doubt there’s wood that Jesus is shaping on His Throne, but there are certainly lives and souls he’s caring for. Jesus is mediating between the Father and humans (1 Timothy 2:5), interceding for those who call on him (Hebrews 7:25) and with the Holy Spirit, Jesus is making us holy (1 Peter 1:2).
Power tools on wood makes sawdust. God on life makes dust too; it’s messy work. Dust flies from the life that’s being chiseled and sanded. Habits become bare. Sin flies and it chokes, covers, blinds and hinders – even making things slippery for others. That is a hard reality; and not one we like to talk about. Still, if we’re going to live in the kind of supportive, encouraging, loving community where Jesus Christ is refining us, we should know that and prepare for it. He was a carpenter and he knows how to build. He knows how to create and finish (Heb. 12:2). Jesus also isn’t afraid to make some messes in the process, are you?
-Don’t be afraid of a bit of dust.
-Don’t run when you see your own life-in-process isn’t as pretty and polished as you’d like it to be.
-Don’t run when you see the lives of your friends and they’re sometimes raw, sometimes hideous, sometimes scary, sometimes polished. That’s what real workmanship looks like in various stages and we are God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
-Don’t run if you thought it would be all clean but you’re now seeing that Christianity in this life is filled with people who are being worked on.
-Don’t run! Yes, I know that sawdust is no fun, but when it’s flying as a result of this Master Craftsman, Jesus, at work, it’s actually a very good thing and it means He’s making something good.
Today when Anne and the kids walked in and saw the dust, they didn’t complain. They didn’t whine about the light brown film over things; they helped me vacuum. They cheered me on regarding the product I was finishing. Let’s be those kinds of people for one another – seeing the real us and not complaining, not critiquing but loving and longing for the finished product as we bear some of the burden ourselves and look to the Master Builder as He works.