“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV UK)
We’ve all heard of the great artist Michelangelo. And I’m sure many of you have seen paintings by Monet or Picasso. But I’m certain that almost none of you is familiar with the work of the painter Paul Smith.
Born in 1921, Paul was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Doctors informed his parents that he wouldn’t survive past infancy. But Paul refused to give up. And by the time he reached 11, he was ready to start a career in art. After finding a discarded typewriter in his neighbour’s rubbish pile, Paul realised that this would be the perfect tool to help him create his masterpieces. After some trial and error, he discovered that he could use 11 of the keys on the keyboard to create intricate patterns. The results were amazing.
Through the years, Paul brought joy and hope to almost everyone he met. When they looked at his typewriter paintings and said, “I can’t do that,” Paul simply asked, “Well, what can you do?”
That question got me thinking. So often in our lives, we can look at everything we don’t have. We highlight our disadvantages instead of looking positively at who we are and what we do that’s right. But the apostle Paul teaches us something different. We read in his letter to the Ephesians that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
I’ve read other versions of this verse which phrase it like this, “We are God’s workmanship.” What I really enjoy about that translation is the idea that none of us is disposable. We are each created by God—a creation that he takes pride in. He loves us no matter what. And before we were even born he created good works for us to do.
While we might not be able to create artwork like Paul Smith, we all are able to partner with Christ in the work he is doing every single day. Let’s see what we can accomplish together.
Gracious Father, in our new creation, our new man, we are being made to reflect the life of Christ, through good works, in loving our fellow men and women. Yet, it’s still alien to us, and so we ask for your help to fulfil your aim for us in our Christian lives. In Jesus’ name, we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach
About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA. You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.