Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Trophy or Tool?

Have you ever wanted to be God’s trophy – all shiny and sparkly with the glory of heaven? The kind of thing that’s put on display, under glass for all to admire. For those who aspire to excel in the public area, be it through music, preaching, teaching or writing, the longing to be God’s trophy in some shape or form rushes through our veins with a fury.

But I cannot find a single reference in scripture where God calls us to be his trophies. We are instead called to be “witnesses” (Acts 1:8), “disciples” (Matt 28:19), “vessels “(Romans 9:21), and “implements of righteousness “(Romans 6:13). In short, we are called to be tools.

Tools are far less glorious things than trophies. They dwell not in showcases, but on hooks, in boxes or in drawers. They aren’t necessarily so interesting to look at. They aren’t pretty. And they can have no ambition unto themselves. They are wholly dependent, serving no purpose at all, unless they rest in the Craftsman’s hand.

Oswald Chambers writes: “If you seek great things for yourself, thinking, ‘God has called me for this and for that,’ you barricade God from using you. As long as you maintain your own personal interests and ambitions, you cannot be completely aligned or identified with God’s interests.”

So what does that mean? That the singer should never sing again, the preacher never again expound the Word, the writer never again place word on paper? I don’t think so. But I do think it challenges us all to consider WHY we want to be God’s trophies? For this is not a call of God, but a call of self.

We would be better suited, however, if we stopped thinking of ourselves in the use of our gifts as trophies and began to see ourselves a mere tools. That requires a death of our own ambition for the sake of His ambition to be realized in our life. But is that really so much of a sacrifice?

For in the end, a trophy is terribly hollow, cold, and untouched, and untouching vessel. It tarnishes with time and even the safety of protective glass cannot change it. But a tool regularly experiences the warm magic of the Master Craftsman’s touch as He uses it to fashion something beautiful in the lives of others.

May we learn how to simply rest as tools in His hand that He might use us to craft His masterpieces in this world.