Uncommon Beauty by Phil
There are all kinds of wood. From domestic oak, cherry and maple to exotic woods with names like bubinga, wenge and purpleheart. Some are preferred for their density and durability while others are treasured for their unique color and grain pattern. Wood is available in planks, panels, boards and sheets, but by far the most abundant and common is the 2x4. Let's be honest, in the great lumber yard of life, most of us are 2x4s. Don't be discouraged, 2x4s are much more valuable than they get credit for. In fact, if you are reading this inside, chances are you are surrounded by 2x4s. You can't see them but they are holding up the walls and roof. Without 2x4s, you'd be sitting in a pile of shingles.
Just like us, no two 2x4s are alike. Some are straight and some a bit bowed, some are fairly smooth and some are full of knots. Alone they are useful, but side by side and joined together they can hold tremendous weight and create huge houses and buildings. That's a perfect picture of the church, all of us joining together to make up the mighty house of God.
When I am working on a project, I go to the lumberyard and select each board by hand. But I don't purchase them to make a 2x4 collection, they are going to be used. God didn't select and save you to be part of his "Christian collection," He picked you for a purpose, and he has a perfect spot for you in His plan. But before a board can be useful, it takes some work. The carpenter has to cut the board down to the proper size, sand the rough spots, and soften the sharp edges. Just like us.
I recently built a fliptop work cart for my sander and scroll saw, mostly made from... you guessed it, 2x4s! I needed some small pieces to cover the flipping mechanism and hold everything in place, and decided why not make them out of the leftover 2x4 scraps? As I cut each to shape and sanded them to smooth perfection, I stopped in my tracks. Hidden inside that piece of cheap scrap lumber was a beautiful wooden coverplate. The graceful grain swept across an almost pure white surface. It took some work and patience on my part, but the result was well worth it. I'm pretty sure God feels the same way about us. Not only does He work to smooth out our rough edges and make us useful, He continues to work daily to expose the hidden beauty in each of us.
So hey, I may never be a mighty oak or exotic bubinga, but that's just fine. I'm happy to be a common 2x4 in the hands of a master carpenter.
Let's make some sawdust!