One of my many hobbies is woodwork. I love creating something functional out of something that is fairly raw and untouched with coffee tables being my favourite thing to make. Somerset Wood Recycling in Weston stocks reclaimed wood from the local area. I have been known to spend over an hour in that shop going through the various types of wood and looking at the grain and looking for that stand-out piece. I visualise the different projects I could complete with each piece and its level of difficulty. I am looking for the potential of a piece.
There are many types of wood and all have different properties. For instance, Pine is a softer wood than others and some are hard wood such as Maple. The harder the wood the more difficult it is to plane and sand down, whilst wood such as Teak, is naturally waterproof. It’s easily to be deceived when selecting a piece of wood for a table by its outward appearance. Many are covered in mud and their full potential are disguised. For some pieces, the outside is a complete mess with bits of bark or nails hanging off. When I select a piece to be a coffee table, I have to look through that and see the grain inside. The wood grain is what really makes a piece. You can spend all the time in the world perfecting the polish or scrutinising the sanding but ultimately, it comes down to the grain.
The Bible suggests to us that Jesus trained as a carpenter. I can imagine Jesus going to select the various pieces of wood. There would be a selection of Olive wood (Google it, it is stunning), wood from the great Cedars of Lebanon and other locally sourced wood. I can just imagine Jesus picking the piece that looks nothing special on the outside. Jesus knew that the inward configuration of the grain outweighed the outward appearance.
In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart”
One of the greatest lessons God has taught me through this hobby, is to look at people’s inward appearance and not what they look like from the outside. Just like selecting wood for a coffee table, I look for the beauty inside the wood rather than the outward appearance. It’s so easy to point out the negative in someone’s life, where they have messed up or caused offence. Ultimately, I am learning to see through God’s eyes and see an individual for their potential and who God created them to be. None of us will be the finished article until we reach Heaven. On that day we will be the very best that we can be, created in the image of God Himself.