Tuesday, December 27, 2011

If I Dishonor Man

As I finished reading a chapter on the Discipline of Friendship in a book by R. Kent Hughes, I began to think about building cabinets. The job God provided for me to get through my under-graduate work was building cabinets to furnish the university.

A few years ago, I took my family to my college campus for a home-coming weekend. My wife and I gave our children the grand tour. We led them to the dorms we lived in, the concrete bench where I stole my first kiss from their mother, and dozens of other places that were important to us. And, everywhere I went on that campus, I was proud to show them the work that I and the young men in my shop had completed. I was proud that so much of it was still there more than two decades later.

Many of the cabinets were my creation. I had measured, designed, and built them from rough lumber, boxes of wood screws, bottles of wood glue and gallons of finish. Cabinet making was a joy to me. Unlike working with people, where the work is never done, cabinet-making brought with it a great sense of accomplishment. A part of me was in each piece. So, if you insulted my work, in a way you insulted me.

When God made man, He made us in His image. He did not put a part of Himself in us, for He was and is always complete and whole in Himself, but He apparently took great joy in our creation. He said that we were good. Now, there is no doubt to any sane and rational mind that we are no longer the good things He created. We know that sin has marred us. Yet, we are still His creation, not unlike a fine, hand-made oak desk whose mirror polished top has been scratched deeply by a thoughtless act.

One day Jesus described the worth of people to God when He said, "But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So don't be afraid therefore; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Mt.10:30-31) So, I wonder how He feels when we, through our words and our actions, dishonor His highest creation . . . man.

French philospher, Blaise Pascal, wrote, "I set this down as a fact, that if all men knew what each other said of the other, there would not be four friends in all the world."

May we who are members of the body of Christ no longer dishonor, with word or deed, any man . . . for each is a creation of God.