Whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock.~Matthew 7:24b NKJV
I watched from the sidelines. It was supposed to be a team project. Parental involvement was not allowed.
The goal was stated simply enough: “Build a tower as tall as possible, out of the designated amount of plastic drinking straws, paperclips, and masking tape.” My daughter and her team huddled together. But the preteen girls were not conversing. Each member was doing her own thing.
From my vantage point, I could clearly see everything they were doing wrong…
An unstable base.
Zero support columns.
The mama-urge to fix my child’s problems was being challenged, and my competitive tendencies were also taking blows. Determined to be a good example, I did not intervene. I mostly watched. My only offering was encouraging them to speak to each other, but by the time they finally did, the other teams were further ahead and some were even finished.
My daughter’s team not only lost miserably, but they managed to build what looked more like a straw squid than a tower. They dubbed it their “messterpiece.”
“Messterpiece.” Isn’t that what we look like to God without His intervention? That very morning, I had awakened with Psalm 46:10 in mind, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 NKJV).
Be still and know that I am God.~Psalm 46:10 NKJV
The days before the competition had been crazy, and the previous night I had gone to bed feeling hopeless. There was so much weighing on me. I was overwhelmed. The anxiety was almost crippling. In the midst of this trial, Psalm 46 arose in my spirit as nourishment. I abandoned everything to listen to God’s Word, and in my stillness, He gave me what I needed.
When tempted by the enemy through physical hunger, Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4b NKJV). He said we should ask God to give us our “daily bread,” and He called Himself the “bread of life.” The bread Jesus was speaking of was Himself. He is “The Word.” We need the Word to survive. We cannot make it on physical bread alone. Partaking in the Word is not a nice add on, or a suggestion for “good Christians.” It is not the noble thing to do. It is a necessity, and essential to our survival.
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.~Matthew 4:4b NKJV
In John 6:66, Jesus told the Pharisees that unless they eat of His flesh, and drink His blood, there is no life in them. It disturbed the audience. Understandably so, but Jesus wasn’t talking about cannibalism. He was talking about the Word and the Spirit. The scriptures teach us that the Word of God is alive; that it became flesh.” When we consume God’s Word, it lives in us and gives life. Without it we die in so many ways.
Truth be told, I had been living on the bread of my own wisdom and efforts. I was a “messterpiece” much like the straw squid the girls built. I was supposed to be under the Master’s construction. But I had taken projects into my own hands, and I was unstable. Struggling, my mind and body were going in many directions. It was utter confusion, just like the straw squid.
Truth be told, I had been living on the bread of my own wisdom and efforts. I was a “messterpiece” much like the straw squid the girls built.~Shanda Neighbors, Contributing Author to Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships
Thankfully, there was wisdom for me. Unlike the instruction the girls received, my Heavenly Father’s involvement and wisdom are always needed. He may have given it sooner if I had asked Him, looked in the Word, and sought His direction. Instead, I built first. It wasn’t until what I had constructed failed that I remembered to ask. Even then, it wasn’t my “perfect repentance” that delivered me. It was through His kindness and generosity and truth, that He alone possesses that made the difference.
Jesus promised, “You will know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32 NKJV). What is the truth? He is The Truth. Literally. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6b NKJV). A relationship with Truth is a relationship with the person, Jesus Christ. When we know Jesus, He makes us free. He did this for me, and He continues His work in me.
His Word was the wisdom I needed to get through that day, and all my days.
I am the way, the truth, and the life.~John 14:6b
As I stood watching the “messterpiece” be judged in the competition, it seemed so sad. It was a visual reminder of not only what is, but what could have been if only communication and adherence to wisdom had been employed. The girls had all the pieces to build an effective structure.
There is no firmer foundation than God and His Word. There are no better plans than His. Elevating our will and plans above His, never works. His ways are always perfect. All my plans are “messterpieces” when compared to His.
The girls were given a chance to explain their failed project. They shared they had learned to communicate better and to choose a leader. This is a lesson we all need to learn.There is no firmer foundation than God and His Word. #VineWords #TheMessterpiece #FirmFoundation #SHANDANEIGHBORS Click To Tweet
God’s Word is His communication to us. If we listen and follow, we become the masterpiece He intends us to be. If we do not, we remain “messterpieces,” sad reminders of what could have been. Communication with God through His Word, and prayer to Him, is the blueprint for our lives. There are no other stable options.
Share a “messterpiece” and a masterpiece story that relates to your own life.
Father God, teach me to love You and regard Your Word, who we see revealed in the person, Jesus Christ. Let no activity or no person come before You. Give me the wisdom, and the courage to lay aside my will. Help me to offer the reasonable sacrifice of a surrendered life, and build my character according to Your plans.
I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright 2020: The “Messterpiece”: Author Shanda Neighbors: All Rights Reserved
Meet Our Contributor
Shanda Neighbor’s island upbringing has afforded her the ability to pardon Eve. She too enjoys gardening and picking produce. Her husband eats all she offers him. No questions. She enjoys serving large crowds, but she’s a natural overfeeder. She will supply too much nourishment no matter the crowd size. Food is her love-language.
She was born raised in the Bahamas. This has determined both her internal clock and thermostat. She struggles with being on time, and is not trusted to set the temperature anywhere. You can always find her outdoors…over 60’s and sunny…probably in a jacket. Anyone who invites her to go skiing hates her. Period.
Shanda is a miraculous work in progress. She credits her family with helping that work along. Chief among them is her husband who has demonstrated the power of love and patience. Outside of Jesus, she has had no greater advocate than her beef-and-potatoes husband. The couple shares two daughters who have brought them closer to the Lord, and to each other. Their daughters are their treasures, who have enriched their lives with wisdom, wonder, and play.
Shanda is passionate about truth and the reputation of God. This translates into her speaking, writing, and she shares passionately at events, in parks, stores, or wherever the opportunity presents itself. Her goal is to live amazed by the love, glory, power, and goodness of our God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to share His story with as many people as possible.
Shanda is a contributing author to Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships (awaiting publication). She is a devotion speaker at Word Weavers Piedmont-Triad, NC, and she is available for speaking engagements.
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