The Tuesday after December 5th, 2013 I drove with a friend up to our church offices to pick up a DVD I needed. It was late. Past midnight. But I needed that DVD for the memorial service that was happening later that week.
I walked into that office that night for the first time since hearing that my co-worker had been taken from us. I wanted to get in and get out, afraid of that place and the feelings it would force me to face. I knew the DVD was on the far side of the office in my mailbox, but I went straight for the cabinet by my desk. I knew there was something unspeakably precious to me in the top drawer: a scrap of paper with a joke written across it in sharpie.
I’m sentimental. I guess that’s why when my co-worker told me he and his wife were moving overseas I tucked that piece of paper in my top drawer. Every time I would see that joke he had scribbled down in our first year of working together I would remember to pray for them.
On that Tuesday after December 5th, as we drove to the office I couldn’t get the thought of that scrap of paper out of my head. I couldn’t for the life of me remember if it was still tucked in that desk drawer, or if I had thrown it away in the summer’s cleaning spree. My hands were shaking as I opened that top drawer.
And with that piece of paper in my hand – that had somehow survived a mass cleaning because my God is sweet and kind and knows me and knew that no amount of photographs would capture the memory of my friend as much as that piece of paper – I fell fully apart.
I know that Jesus loves me. I don’t doubt it. I don’t know it like I know a dry doctrine. I feel it in the deepest parts of my soul. But sometimes I struggle to feel my value and worth.
I know that the grace of God has found me – the least of all the saints and the worst of all the sinners – and I know I did not earn that grace. I know that my worth has nothing to do with my strengths. I also know that I have value. Deep and abiding. And unquestionable.
It is tricky for some of us: how can I really be valuable if God doesn’t value me for my accomplishments and skills? How can I truly believe I have worth if I also believe I didn’t earn the love of God?
The answer? Because I treasure that scrap of paper. Not because of the quality of the paper or the prettiness of the handwriting or the humor of the content. I treasure it because of the person who wrote on it all those years ago.
And it has me thinking about the artist who is our God and the creature that He has made that is me. And how gloriously valuable that must make me – to be His handiwork. I am His workmanship. The way He wanted to display how good He is at stuff is me. I’m the evidence of how good He is at forgiving and how great He is at loving and how amazing He is at creating and that makes me…valuable.
And this thing that is me must be stewarded in accordance with its value. I don’t let that scrap of paper get stomped on. I don’t throw it around. I don’t let my dog sit on it and I don’t let other people draw on it. Because it’s valuable.
And how much more valuable is this creature that is me? And how much more carefully must I be stewarded? How much more must I be wary to keep me from being stomped on and thrown around and drawn on by others. Not because I am better than others; not because my soul is higher or greater – but because I’m His artwork. I’m His kid. And so I need to be treated with care: physically and spiritually and emotionally and relationally.
We are His workmanship.
Time to start ascribing to ourselves and others the value that God’s workmanship is due.