One of the items on my bucket list is to see Italy. The only problem is that I have a crippling phobia of flying, but I suppose I’ll deal with that later.
I want to see Italy because, in my mind at least, I find it to be gorgeous. The wine, the architecture, the people. It’s someplace that I just want to sit in a corner bistro with a nice glass of wine and people-watch for hours.
In addition to the above, I want to see the old world creations that pepper the areas. The ancient buildings, the intricate carvings, the art. The timeless creations from people in the past that are revered to this day as the ultimate creations of the human hand. I have a deep appreciation for these sorts of things, and love to simply run my own hand along a hand-carved stair-rail and feel the passion and the work that went into some of the most simple of creations.
This knack for the details has become something of an oddity for me of late. I’m the guy that ventures into an older Victorian home and notices the moulding. I comment on the ornate rock work on the fireplace. I note the baseboards. Even the door handles catch my eye. I am struck by the fact that it seems our culture focuses almost exclusively on speed and price. I can understand why both are important, but I think that we have lost the expression of what we are CAPABLE of with certain acts of creation. Sure, we can build a fireplace for cheap, and we do it quick, but we can also build a fireplace with amazing rockwork, and intricate layering, and it can be a show-stopper of a piece that causes your guests to gasp when they see it for the first time. Like most, I’m not made of money, and my fireplace is pretty darn plain. I get that our budgets don’t allow for homes to be “works of art”, but I suppose I have just come to appreciate those that ARE.
As I read magazines full of images of the amazing work of the human race, I can frequently tie it back to a spiritual connection as well.
1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Do it ALL for the glory of God. The craftsmen that hand-carved the stair railing into a beautiful work of art might not have had GOD at the center of his motivation for his creation, but I like to think that perhaps he did. He sat down with a raw piece of wood and decided that he would make the most beautiful stair-railing in the world as a way to honor his God, and I like that thought.
The correlation I can make with this is – what other areas of your life could you be doing “whatever you do” to honor God?
You’re a friend to your neighbors. They’re having some marital problems, and you know things have been tough over there. If you know this much about them, are you doing EVERYTHING to be the ultimate friend and confidant for them to assist with restoration? Are you taking this opportunity to honor your God and not just be a friend, but to take things to a whole new level and give your all to being the ULTIMATE friend?
You have TIME. You might roll your eyes and say “You’re dreaming, buddy” but I promise that you have time that you could prioritize in other ways. With that time, are you missing opportunities to volunteer, to mentor, or to assist with your church? Are you using your time in every imagineable way to glorify God and to advance His kingdom? Or are you just getting by?
Look, I’m like all of you: I’m broke, I’m stressed, and sometimes life is a struggle. Sometimes I don’t want to do the MOST when I can get away with the LEAST. However, as I appreciate what human hands are capable of producing, I am convicted by what human hearts are capable of. If we remain aware that every day is an opportunity to do the absolute MOST in every imagineable interaction and relationship, we might initiate change and produce some positive results.
Someday, many years from now, someone will see the fruits of your labor. It could be in the cascading positive effect that changed lives have had on others, but they will see it. They may never know your name, but God will know that your efforts at glorification of God produced timeless results.
And that, my friends, is a good thing.