Shaped by Work

October 5, 2017

By Erin Bird,

Glad to have you read along as we continue in our "Following Jesus at Work & School" series. (If you've missed the previous two articles, you can catch those on the Riverwood blog.)

Today, I want to start by talking about art.

My father earned an art degree in college and has created a wide variety of artworks. He's done oil painting, watercolors, won awards for photography, created amazing wood creations for my kids, and even had the chance to blow glass. (It's easy to see where my 17-year-old daughter gets her amazing talent.)

I remember as a little kid seeing my dad work on a potter's wheel. As the wheel spun around and around, his fingers would mold and shape the clay into the pot that was in his mind's eye. Sometimes, he would dip his hand in some water to add to the clay as it spun around, or take a sponge to shape the pot or add a bit of texture.

I was mesmerized. When I played with clay, it looked nothing like the pot on the wheel my dad was creating. His fingers had a way of shaping the clay into something more useful than the "snakes" I could fashion in 10 seconds. It was amazing to my little eyes.

We are Clay

Like my dad, God is an artist. (Just look at the heavens or the beauty of this earth!) God even describes himself as a potter as He points out in Jeremiah 18. And His clay is you. If you follow Jesus, then God is shaping you. But rather than make you a pot or bowl or ashtray, He is shaping you into the image of Jesus.

Romans 8:28-29 says...

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."

Did you just skim over that verse or skip it entirely? If so, go back and read it. (I'll wait.)

Powerful words, aren't they? Two key things I want you to take away from these famous verses:
1. God uses ALL things for our good.
2. And that "good" is to conform us into the image of Jesus.

This means, if we apply these two verses to our jobs or school work, God uses our careers or time as students to shape and mold us to become more like Christ!

So don't see homework as just a tedious chore to make a teacher or professor happy. Don't view work as just a place to make money so you can afford to pay your mortgage or buy another toy or set of clothes. Instead, realize that God has you in this spot at this time in life to shape and mold you into the beautiful image of Jesus, so you will love like Jesus loved and live like Jesus lived.

Heavenly Father, help me to willingly climb on Your potter wheel, happily letting You use my job or class to do Your work of shaping me into the image of Jesus, Your Son and my Savior. Amen.

Another Thing

In case you haven't noticed, it's been a rough few weeks here in the U.S. We've battled Category 5 hurricanes, division over NFL anthem protests, and the worst mass shooting ever in Las Vegas. And this doesn't even touch the natural and man-made devastation that has occurred in other countries. Would you join me in praying? Pray for

  • the victims and their families
  • the responders (police, medical teams, rescue workers)
  • the local churches who are bringing the gospel into these situations through their hands, words, and presence.

Pray also that you and I would be peacemakers right here in the Cedar Valley, to do what we can to love like Jesus in such a tumultuous time.

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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Riverwood Church, Waverly Iowa

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