Another Look by David Faust
A friend of mine runs a business that leases the fourth floor of a downtown office building in Indianapolis. For many years the space was previously occupied by a jewelry firm, and when my friend’s company moved in, they kept a lot of the original wooden cubicles where the jewelers had worked. In the process of redecorating, the landlords replaced the floor coverings that had been there for decades. When they removed and rinsed out the old carpet, they recovered $50,000 worth of gold dust that had accumulated in the carpet fibers over the years!
Valuable treasures can be found in surprising places. During the reign of King Solomon, craftsmen built an elaborate palace for the king and a beautiful temple for the Lord. Both buildings were built to last and designed to inspire. Artisans put their creativity to work with pine, cedar, and olive wood, with stones and gold and bronze.
At the front of the temple stood two enormous bronze pillars, each about 27 feet high, with capitals of cast bronze set on top of each pillar. Solomon gave the pillars names: Jakin (“he establishes”) and Boaz (“in him is strength”). The capitals atop the pillars were shaped like lilies, adding another seven and a half feet to the pillars’ height. On top of the capitals were 200 carved pomegranates neatly arranged in two rows (1 Kings 7:15-22).
It took seven years for Solomon’s craftsmen to build the temple (1 Kings 6:38). Bronze workers spent thousands of hours making the beautiful pomegranates displayed on top of the pillars. Yet, those 200 pomegranates sat nearly 35 feet in the air where they were barely visible from the ground. Why go to so much trouble to create something most people would never see? Day after day, year after year, the craftsmen went to work, realizing that most visitors to the temple would catch no more than a glimpse of their creations neatly arranged on top of the pillars several stories above the ground. Only God could see the fullness of the artists’ work—and that was enough. Only God could fully appreciate their effort, but in the final analysis his approval was all that mattered anyway.
And so it is in the body of Christ. The church is filled with gifted servants who are motivated to honor the One who created their creativity. Like Solomon’s craftsmen, some of these individuals are skilled with stone and wood. Others write newspaper articles, blogs, or poetry, or design attractive Web sites. Some are musicians and composers who take literally the psalmist’s encouragement to “sing a new song to the Lord.” Others honor God through photography, cooking, painting, and crafts. Some demonstrate creativity in the way they teach a Bible class, find ways to save money in the church budget, or plan exciting events for the youth group to enjoy.
They don’t do these things for personal glory, although they enjoy using their gifts. They want to honor God even if he’s the only one who notices. They’re like Solomon’s craftsmen, carving pomegranates for the glory of God alone.
Do you know a man who serves the Lord without seeking anyone’s applause? Do you know a woman who is a blessing to others but does her work behind the scenes?
Look closely. They might have gold dust on their shoes.