Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Kingdom: God's Book of Poems

My husband, Tom, and I got to hear the gifted author John Ortberg speak about his newest book, The Me I Want to Be. He quoted Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ortberg makes the point that disciples are never mass-produced; they are handcrafted by God, always in the context of who they uniquely are.

In some study Tom did after hearing Ortberg, he found that the word translated “workmanship” is poiēma, rendering the English “poem.” And in his Mind Change Online blog this week, he commented that “just as every poem is uniquely designed, so each of us is uniquely designed.”

This got me to thinking.

It is so true that all poems are very unique; they are completely original and individual, just as people are. They are the creation of an artistic mind, just as we are the creation of The artistic mind who spoke the world into being.

This thought encourages me in two ways:

First, it reminds me that I am special to God. He loves me, quirks and all. And as I yield myself to him, he is handcrafting me into the “me” he has prepared me to be.

Second, it reminds me that every person is special to God. Think about another disciple whom you find it difficult to like, maybe one who really gets on your nerves. (Even though we are “good Christian people,” we still have to deal with feelings like this—be honest—admit it!) Now think of a person you genuinely like and are eager to spend time with. Each one is God’s poiēma. Each one is special and is being handcrafted by the God of Creation to be exactly who he or she was born to be.

I know what it feels like to share poems I have written. It is like transferring your child with trembling hands to someone else’s care. There is a certain vulnerability, a fear of rejection and a flush of victory in the risk.

As God shares his poems with each of us, every day, in our interactions with others, let’s remember to listen to the heart of the poem, and not to judge its style or delivery. Let’s try to look more through the Poet’s eyes and less through our own.