I have always admired the work of Claude Monet, the master French impressionist. Actually revered is probably a better description on how I view his work.I have a deep love for landscape art and Monet’s paintings are quite breathtaking. I had the opportunity to visit an art gallery in Las Vegas of all places which was displaying a large collection of his work. It was remarkable to note that when looking at his paintings up close, they all looked like random blotches of oil paint. But when one steps back to take in the whole painting, that is when the true beauty and the nature of the subject comes into view.
Monet lived the later part of his life in Giverny, France on a small farm which he turned into his canvas. His particular passion was painting his water-lily pond, which took him many years to cultivate to his perfection. In the last 33 years of his life, Monet painted little else, creating many masterpieces for us to enjoy.
The Bible tells us that we are God’s masterpieces, (Gk.”poiema”), his work of art, his magnum opus, his poem, his symphony. He is the master artist who sketches us and takes a lifetime to fill in that sketch with a palette of colors. He is the master musician who composes the symphony of our lives. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10. God also tells us in Ephesians that we are His chosen, adopted, holy, blameless, his inheritance, redeemed, forgiven, sealed with the Spirit, righteous, a citizen of Heaven, faithful, lavished on by God, included, a saint, light to others, secure, have peace, alive with Christ, complete, and our lives bring great glory to God. If God thinks so very much of us, why do we think so little of ourselves? We are His masterpiece and yet we live as if we are a dime-store imitation. We often view ourselves as random blotches of paint. If we would but step back and take in the whole of our lives, we would see the work of art God is creating.
Realizing how wonderful God thinks we are seems to collide with the biblical imperative to be humble. How can we have a healthy, biblical self image and still be humble? We do that by remembering that it is all God. Long before He laid the foundations of the earth, “He had us in mind.” It was God’s plan from the beginning of time to love us, choose us, and adopt us. It was all Him, and it was made possible by His sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ. It was said that in order to get perfect reflections off the water in his pond, Monet would insist that both the garden and the pond were meticulously clean-even to the point of asking his cleaners to dust the surface of the water. How fortunate we are so have a God who does the cleaning of our souls for us, washing us in the blood of the Messiah, His Son.
When our focus is on how great our God and all He has done for us, humility and gratitude are the result. Humility is not thinking too much of ourselves, (which is pride), nor thinking too little of ourselves (which is also pride), but thinking of ourselves less. We do not admire great works of art, magnificent poetry, or a stirring piece of music for the thing itself. We admire the artist who did the painting, the writing, or the composing. God makes much of us so that we can live our lives making much of Him. We bring God great glory when we live our lives as the “Work of Art” he has made us to be.