As a man, and a woodworker, farmer, tinkerer, I know a few things about projects. There is always something that needs to be done at the homestead. The gutters need to be cleaned out, the deck needs to be swept. I need to find a solution to clean up the front pasture. The truck needs a new power steering hose. The list is almost endless.
I was reminded last week that I am a project as well. I’m a project of Jesus Christ, who, according to the apostle Paul is the author and perfector of our faith. You see, I’ve been in a season of not knowing that else I needed to do. I was serving multiple places at church, I was praying, I had daily talks with God and I heard him talking with me. The thing is, I’ve felt at the same place for some time. I’ve been working on book projects, but as soon as I feel inspired, I get to putting words together that the wind goes out of my sails and the project stalls. But God was working on me, and the easy things to fix and work on are done and what is left is the stuff buried deep. It’s not fun and it’s not easy.
This past week I came to a realization that I could no longer support capital punishment. It seemed to happen suddenly. I was driving my truck from work back home and it occurred to me, if our society takes the life of a prisoner, are we giving Christ time to work within that man or woman? If we truly believe in the redemptive work of Christ, how can we end a life? How can we have the arrogance to cut short a project that the almighty Father himself is working on? I just can’t rationalize it any more.
What caused this change of heart? Our church (World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, TN) has been talking about prayer, and in a few lessons with our 4th 5th and 6th graders, we have been going through Ephesians chapter 6. In there is one phrase that has been talking to me loudly: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” I can pray in the spirit, and have been able to since my junior year in high school. I just haven’t practiced it. I’ve had doubts. But I made a commitment to pray in the spirit on my commute to and from work, while driving on a particular road. It’s only for 5 to 7 minutes each way, so it isn’t much. But I feel more complete and rounded when I’m done. I'm convinced this extra step of faith that I've taken has helped God reach deeper into me.
I feel like the master carpenter has finished the cutting and gluing of my life and he is now sanding and shaping me to be the man he wants me to be. This is the least glamorous portion of a project, but it’s the difference between junk and an heirloom. My Father in heaven doesn’t create junk. Not in me, and not in you.