You’ve most likely heard the phrase, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
What do you think when you hear this statement?
The first thing that comes to mind is that we all “see” things differently. One person may see something beautiful while another may perceive an alternative reality.
Recently, I chatted with my neighbor while overlooking our adjoining backyard. She lamented that the dandelions were overtaking her yard and wanted them gone as soon as possible. As I looked out at my yard, I saw the same dandelions, yet I thought they were rather beautiful. A kaleidoscope of yellow and white with puffs of pink washed over our Kentucky bluegrass, bringing a smile to my face. After a long winter, new life was beginning to flourish, and those dandelions hinted at my hope of warmer days to come.
I wondered how two could people see the same thing, yet one sees something beautiful while the other sees merely a worthless weed? As I pondered this mystery, I remembered Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:10:
“For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)
The New Living Translation describes us as God’s “masterpiece.” What do you think of when you hear the word “masterpiece?” Do you think of valuable, priceless, beautiful?
As I caught glimpses of those dandelions throughout the pockets of my busy day, my eye saw a masterpiece. My eye saw the hope of spring I longed for!
However, I could easily have seen the weeds that dandelions are labeled: ugly and useless, a landscaper’s nuisance. Yet, I wonder what God saw when He first created the dandelion?
Every human is marred by the stains of a sin-scorched world. Seasons of our lives are consumed in flames, leaving a heap of dirty ashes. The accuser labels us with derisive words: ugly, useless, a nuisance – anything but beautiful. These labels tangle our hearts with weeds, obscuring the beauty of our garden. And just like the dandelion, we see our life stories as worthless and invaluable. Unfortunately, we cannot take a mower to our ugly stories and make them disappear.
So, what are we to do? How can we see our life and our identity as the masterpieces they are?
In Ephesians 2:10, Paul speaks an affirmation to the Church of Ephesus, calling out their Christ-given destiny. He reminds us that we are God’s very best work, His most priceless possession, the pinnacle of beauty simply because we bear His name.
Why are we priceless, beautiful, worthy? Because of Christ Jesus. Because of the price paid for our sin.
In God’s rich mercy and great love, He calls us back to Him, back to our original design. He makes us alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5). And because of this we are not merely redeemed and set free from the bondage of sin and death. God personalizes our redemption by calling us His children. He esteems us as His greatest accomplishment. The ugly stories and the labels of shame and worthlessness have all been washed anew.
One of my favorite Scriptures is found in Isaiah 61:3 where God chooses to exchange our grieving hearts and bestow on us a crown of beauty:
“. . . to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor”. (NIV)
God’s Word, again and again, affirms the truth of who we are. We are God’s handiwork, simply because we are worth it! Because we are greatly loved! Because we are His masterpiece!
As if the promises found in Ephesians 2:10 couldn’t get any better, God declares that we have been created to do good works that He has already prepared for us to do. Just like the world’s greatest artists have created masterpieces to serve their purpose as admirer’s revel in their beauty.
We too have been created with a purpose. And our stories — the ones we deem to be worthless, unsightly weeds in the garden of our lives — have some of the greatest potential to display God’s glory.
Today, I pray that you allow the truths from God’s Word to soak into the places of your life that you don’t see as beautiful. Invite His light into the stories that you have judged to be worthless or invaluable. Ask God to show you how He sees your stories.
As I gaze fondly at those dandelions in my backyard, I appreciate that they are resilient. They keep coming back, springing forth with new life, fulfilling their purpose, undaunted by how others see them.
Let us cultivate lives that display the majestic splendor of the Master Creator through our stories, standing strong on God’s Word as truth.
May you recognize your worth as you walk into your Christ-given inheritance.