Dirty, Broken Paintbrushes

Posted: August 20, 2014 in thought to ponder
We are messed up. Still, God chooses to use us.

We are messed up. Still, God chooses to use us.

Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people,this grace was given me: 
to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ. – Paul, Eph. 3:8 (NIV)

Staying in the hospital has its advantage. It gave me time to be able to ponder on God’s word without interruption. As I was wheeled out of the hospital and moved into my sister’s place, I would be dependent on a cane for five days. My knees were in bad shape as I could barely bend it because of the pain. In my mind, I was thinking, “oh boy, I can’t do ministry work for the next two weeks!” Then as I was reading the passage in Ephesians 3, as part of my preparation for preaching two Sundays from now, I was struck by what the Apostle said.
 
I am the least of all the Lord’s people…
 
He was saying, if there was a person whom God should not be using, that would be him! He was, after all, Saul of Tarsus. Murderer. Persecutor. He was responsible for some kids turning into orphans. He turned mothers into widows. It wasn’t just one, or two, or ten…it was in multitudes.
 
I was given a thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7)…
 
He speaks of having a “thorn in the flesh”. Whether it is a physical ailment or a spiritual one, we knew Paul was in pain. Something that can hinder him from fully being functional. An irritation. A reason to keep on praying. 
 
Aren’t we just like Paul? Broken. Messy. Dirty. We got a past that would hound us. We got stories we don’t want our friends to hear. We got pain all over our body. We have scars that haven’t really healed. 
 
I picture God as a master painter. Like Van Gogh, or Rembrandt, or in our local setting, Amorsolo (I prefer Galan…a favorite painter who is also a friend). God has a big canvas that He is painting on. He doesn’t use the big, wide, brushes. He uses a small, thin, one. Then He uses a broken paintbrush. Then He would use a dirty paintbrush. Then He would use one that looks insignificant. God uses the paint brushes that an amateur would say…”seriously, you are using that brush?” Then God uses different colors, some bright ones like yellow, orange, red, and those colors that are cheerful and lively. God also uses the dark ones, black, blues, lots of blues, and colors that are dreary and dead. We are the brushes. We may be broken, dirty, messy, insignificant brushes but God uses us. The colors may be varied, some would tell stories of success, of happiness, of triumph and victories, but there are some colors that speak of pain, of suffering, of humiliation, of despair. The master painter does not make mistakes. He knows what brush He wants to use, and He knows the colors that are needed to finish His work. He has a plan and He sticks to it. 
 
So the next time you think of how insignificant you are, or how messed up your situation is, remember that God used a dirty, broken, messy person like Paul. The least of all the Lord’s people. Remember that God is the one who gives the grace to an insignificant paint brush. He isn’t done yet. We just have to be willing (but He would also use us even if we are unwilling). 
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