Streamlined



There’s a commercial running these days that has completely captivated my attention. It’s poetry in motion. Have any of you see the Nissan ad with the clay carver working on the life-size model of the Mazda C X 5? It’s simply beautiful. Watch Yuta Takanashi, modeler extraordinaire, microplanning sheer layers of clay away with a laser-like concentration, and you will be riveted in his dexterous passion. He’s like a honed swordsman; every touch sure and masterfully calculated, yet elegantly executed. It’s an exquisite dance of skill, talent, experience and sheer joie de vivre. I’m grooving on the clever simplicity of moody lighting and contrast coloration that make you buy into the design of cars as a high art form. Apparently, in that industry it is, as there’s a critical shortage of automotive clay modelers at the moment. Of course, employing computers, or technical drafting by blueprint are fundamental aspects of the design process, but if you really want to take it to the next level in vital exhilaration and emotional impact, the active tactility of the virtuoso sculptor is required. Slowly, the finest, most subtle of sensuous gradients emerge. I’m not one to rhapsodize over vehicles, but I can suddenly appreciate the unbridled fervor that others put into the process, and the genius it produces.


Something about this commercial makes me consider once again the nature of work, and the power of creating. (Here we are again, back full circle to my ‘Bespoke’ meditation of a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, I’m not finished with this theme). As we ourselves are formed out of clay, I think of the Lord’s touch on me, and the delicate sculpting that has transformed my nature so much over the years. Yes, there was a great plan on paper, a technical blueprint of destiny, but when you’re actually walking on the planet, refinement is imperative. You will require the touch of ‘Bara’. These enhancements are executed by His hand, tender and tenacious, not yours. I’ve often felt that honed edge sheer along my soul; clay shavings fall to the floor, mingled with tears. Delicately, the detritus is removed, streamlining the supple and sinuous out of clay. Striking, seamless and aerodynamic, the skill of this Divine Michelangelo will stun you. A vessel of honor emerges (2 Tim 2:21).

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.


Deep in the pages of the Old Testament, amidst the dense mandate of technical specifications God gives Moses for the building of the tabernacle, unexpectedly, an artisan is commissioned. Enter, Bezelel (Exodus 31:1-4). In the rash of Egyptian building projects going on at the time, I’m sure this Hebrew craftsman was in high demand, as his list of apprenticeships was staggering! He was probably at the pinnacle of his working career. Then, somebody gets the bright idea to defy it all and decamp in the middle of the night! How would you like to labor a lifetime, and lose in a moment? Was Bezelel forsaking a wonderful, fully stocked workshop, a portfolio of brilliantly completed projects and a considerable network of contemporaries? Did the desert find him defiantly dragging his expensive tool-box behind him? (Yes Honey,…it’s coming with us!). He probably thought all progress and promotion was lost forever. Bezelel didn’t have a clue that his finest moment was about to overtake him. The eye of God had long singled him out for a job of such stellar importance that he would be immortalized in The Book forever. He was hand-picked for the oversight and creation of the tabernacle enclosure, with all its detailed magnificence. I’m sure his heart-ache melted when Moses showed up at the tent door, summoning him by name for the task he had unknowingly been preparing his whole life. Note the combination: a massive creative undertaking, a skilled craftsman, and a divine appointment. There’s a combination hallmarked for greatness. That’s “The Anointing”.


In the eighth chapter of Proverbs, Jesus, speaking through the voice of Wisdom personified, captures a rare moment of intimacy for us.

The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men. Proverbs 8:22, 30-31


This incredible description of what it must have been like to be part of creation fires up our imaginations and awe, but it’s really an echo of the pattern God intended for every soul He created. He has vital projects that give drive and purpose to your life, and He’s preparing you for them. Just as Jesus labored as part of the Trinity in creation, the Lord wants you to experience this same level of intimacy with Him in your own working. He will convey the deep wealth of talent, value and resource He has invested in you. You are a co-laborer with Him.


We can’t always sense purpose in the tedious, daily slog of our labors. At times, we despair of any level of breakthrough significance. The Days of Small Things do not, as a rule, commandeer our attention or transport us into raptures. They simply melt into one another with predictable monotony. But under closer examination, you’ll discover you’ve been building up of layers of dexterity and proficiency that will one day be summoned to their anointed moment. Like a mighty river, if you flow in His Spirit, work has meaning, momentum, and magnitude. The Lord will show Himself strong in your desire and tasking. He will prove Himself the originator of your passionate desire. Lift up your eyes. You too, are a Bezelel. You are a Takanashi. So, stop resisting, and get streamlined!

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