Lessons from the Beam
Nov 26, 2016 // By:Dave // 1 comment
When I first became a believer and began studying the words and lessons of the Lord (as recorded in the bible), I quickly noticed a peculiarity of His teaching style … parables, metaphors, and stories !
He seems to mostly teach about the kingdom that He represented with “word pictures” that not only used real life objects and people to represent other objects and/or people but also to illustrate concepts that existed in His “world” that had been forgotten in our “world” (which belongs to Him anyways). His parables, as they are commonly called, not only communicated factual information, but also emotional value which helped the listener to understand the parable and learn from it, being both more engaging and memorable. I thought to myself “If the Master chooses this method to teach (among all the methods He could have chosen), then I should try to teach the same way since no servant is greater than His master”. (John 13:16)
Some metaphors can come from unexpected sources but their truth still holds up and often helps to penetrate the hardest of heads and hearts (mine included).
This past week, one of these unexpected sources popped up as I wanted to reach into the heart of a young man I have been discipling. He had been helping me with a DIY project I had undertaken in my home to convert a plaster and sheetrock beam running across my ceiling into what looked like a real 6×6 wooden beam.
Equipment was set up, as I had started the day before, by treating this fake beam with a hammer (what is called “stressing”) adding dents and pucks to create an antique surface which I planned to bless with my magic touch. The surface was already white, so I satisfied myself by merely cleaning the surfaces so nothing would interfere with my handiwork.
I masked off the surrounding area with tape to separate my work surface to prevent any “oops”. The beam was then painted with a foundation of sticky latex burgundy paint which smelled awful (or so I believe I heard from numerous occupants of my home). I was committed now ! This beam no longer “blended in” with the rest of the ceiling and I had to finish what I had started.
The painting continued to finish. This then needed to be left alone for a day or so for the paint to be fully dry before the next step could be inflicted upon this unsuspecting beam.
The following night, I got back to work and began coating this shiny beam with dark muddy latex paint (which also smelled), and periodically stopped to drag a rubber tool across the surface which I rocked and swirled as I moved it to create dragged out patterns in the darker paint. This action, requiring some patience, created a texture which looked remarkable like the real woodgrain I had seen in the video DYI’s !
After a little touch up with more white paint along the edges that had some rough lines, I was done. I was able to step back and enjoy how this beam completely stood out from the rest of the ceiling but looked like it has always belonged there. It impressed everyone who saw it with comments like “wow look at that” or “you did that?”
OK, Remember how I started this blog talking about unlikely sources for metaphors of the Kingdom?
Here we go!
One of the things that started my brain working was that I remembered hitting little imperfections along the way with the wood graining tool. These would interfere with my progress and made me wish that I had taken more time preparing the surface, making sure that the recipient of my handiwork was completely ready for my creative touch 🙂
Now His Spirit began talking to me about the whole matter and the simple metaphor sprouted !
“What lessons can we glean from this beam?” came out of my mouth to the surprise of my disciple who had been helping me on this last night (moving lights, handing me tools and taking them from me so I could work faster)
Out came the following points:
- We are like the white beam. (Eph 2:2-3)
- we just want to fit in
- we do not reflect His glory (Gal 5:17, Rom 8:7)
- if we could, we would resist His work “hey, that hurts, stop that” or “why did you do that? Now I stick out like a sore thumb!!”
- The master wants to make a change in us
- it often takes more time than we like (2 Pet 3:8-9, Lam 3:25-26)
- the tools of transformation can often be uncomfortable (1 Pet 4:12-13, Prov 12:1)
- trusting the Master is the only way to grow from the trial (Phil 4:7, Heb 4:15, Rom 8:34)
- we, in the end, are blessed by cooperating (Jerem 29:11, 1 Cor 6:11)
- The change is intended to:
- make us stand out (1 Pet 2:9-12)
- showcase the power of the Master (not our own) (1 Pet 2:9b, Rom 12:2)
- show the faithfulness of God (Numb 23:19, Psa 18:2, 2 Cor 4:16-18, Lam 3:21-23, Psa 103:1-5)
So we can learn a lot from a beam being transformed into something it never thought it could be:
It had to be:
- dented, hammered, scratched and sanded
- isolated at times for special treatments
- painted and stuck up
- covered with more sticky paint
- cleaned up again along the edges (God is in the details)
- made to stand out (rather than being allowed to blend in and be ignored)
- showcased: now, only now, can I have others look at this work and respond “I didn’t know that could even be done!”
- willing to take no credit for the transformation, but (if it had the ability to chose to cooperate) pass all credit back to the master who made the transformation take place.
Is God working on you ? What stage are you at ?
Do you realize that this process will repeat over and over again throughout your walk with God and that the trials become harder as our faith becomes stronger ?
Learn from the beam and stop fighting God! (Acts 9:5, Acts 26:14)
He desires to do a work in each of our hearts that will shine His light to all around us. (Matt 5:14-16)
εν διακονια τω θεω, Dave Cadieux