I read Mary’s song of praise in Luke 1 this morning. It reminds me of a simple principle. Worship springs from a fresh realization of what God is doing in, and through, and around you.
Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, blesses Mary and voices an understanding that could only be from God . . . that Mary is to be the mother of her Lord. Not only does Elizabeth rejoice but so does the baby within her . . . the soon to be John the Baptist does cartwheels in the womb as Mary comes into their presence. And while it hasn’t been that long since Mary encountered the angel who told her of her highly favored future . . . not too long since she conceived through the Holy Spirit . . ., encountering her cousin Elizabeth’s reaction again impresses upon Mary the amazing work God is doing in her and she can’t help but respond in praise and adoration. “My soul magnifies the Lord!” she exclaims. And I’m thinking that’s how it is so often when we realize afresh the work God is doing in and around our lives . . . our spirits rejoice in the Lord . . . our voices proclaim His praise.
Cue Ephesians 2:10 . . . “For we are His workmanship . . . ”
The thought arrests me . . . stops me in my tracks . . . shouts out, “Consider it, Pete. Don’t rush by it too quickly. Think about it . . . You are workmanship . . . God’s workmanship.” Now, all too often I’m aware of what a “piece of work” I am . . . not much to look at, really . . . nothing to get too excited about . . . kind of flawed . . . often not performing the way I think I should. But this morning I’m reminded, that though that may be all too accurate a view, it is very much an “earthbound” view. The Holy Spirit through Paul’s words to the Ephesians reminds me of a reality that transcends my experience . . . I am His workmanship — though it be a work in progress — I am God’s workmanship. And as a very eloquent man once said, “God don’t make no junk!!!”
I looked up the meaning of “workmanship.” Although “work” is a very common NT word, this word for “workmanship” is found only twice in the NT . . . kind of a special word then. It literally means a product . . . and more specifically, refers to a fabric.
Ok . . . so let that spark the imagination. A finally woven fabric . . . not something that is produced in bulk . . . but hand-woven. Comprised of countless spiritual fibers . . . brought together to make a one-of-a-kind creation — a new creation actually — by the Creator of all things Himself. I think of the different threads in this fabric as being multi-colored against a predominate background of red . . . blood red . . . for we His fabric created in Christ Jesus. Woven throughout this workmanship is the material of the Savior Himself . . . the Son of God intricately loomed into my being . . . coming out more and more as the Spirit’s sanctifying work progresses. I am His fabric . . . I am His workmanship. O my soul magnifies the Lord!
I said the word “workmanship” is only found twice in the NT. Here’s the other place where it’s found . . . “For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:20 ESV). God’s invisible attributes . . . His eternal power . . . His divine nature . . . are clearly seen . . . are clearly understood . . . through the things that are made . . . through His workmanship . . . through His fabric. And I am part of that fabric . . . that God testifying, intricately woven fabric . . . a workmanship intended to reveal the glory of the Workman! Amazing! Magnify the Lord, O my soul!
“I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14 ESV).
Fearfully and wonderfully made . . . true of the physical creation . . . and so true of the spiritual re-creation. My soul magnifies the Lord!
Too often I can look at the “workmanship” in the mirror and focus only on the flaws and the still abiding imperfections. True enough . . . lot of work to be done with this work in progress. But, from time to time, I’d do well to think again of Who’s workmanship I am . . . of Who has promised to complete the work He begun . . . of the magnificence of the blueprint He is using for His work of grace in me, the very image and nature of His blessed Son. Then, how can my soul not respond in wonder and worship and magnify the LORD.
For His abundant favor . . . for His abiding glory . . . for all eternity. Amen?