“REMOVING THE SCRAP”

Yesterday afternoon a young man, Ryan, who works in the office came in and told me a story about the owner of a sawmill.  He is building a new home and needed some cypress beams.  He had cut the logs and taken to the mill.  The owner of the mill was preparing to saw the beams.  He had to get the logs placed just right and then lock the log in place.  There were quite a number of adjustments to make before the sawing began.  Ryan asked him what this process was all about.  The man told Ryan that in order to saw the beams he had to get everything just right.  He said once the adjustments were made, he would remove everything that didn’t look like a beam.

I thought about what a job carving the images of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln on the face of Mt. Rushmore must have been.  I wondered if the sculptor had to remove all the material that didn’t look like these former presidents in order to accomplish this magnificent sculpture.  As the layers and layers of rock are removed it takes a very special talent to visualize the end results.  How wonder many times he had to get close and remove rock and then withdraw to a far distance  to see the result of his action.  He must have been a very patient man with the determination to see his vision materialize.

This is similar to the way I make wooden bowls with my lathe.  I have a general idea of what I want to accomplish.  But, as I remove the wood and the shape begins to materialize, I always step back to examine the results.  The grain in the wood begins to “speak.”  This is what determines the final details of a finished bowl.

This causes me to wonder what we look like before God begins to remove the undesirable scrap from hour lives.  We must look horrible in His eyes, but I know that He loves us anyway.  I think of Israel as God delivered them from bondage in Egypt.  The short trip to the Promised Land took 40 years.  Because of disobedience, there was a lot of “scrap” that had to be removed before they could enter the land He had promised.

I can remember the many times the Sculptor removed those unnecessary things and this process will continue for the rest of my life.  It always seemed painful at the time but I now realize that the “scrap” was what caused the pain…not the removal.

Sometimes we feel the need for crutches to walk and find out that without the crutches we can really walk and stand tall.  Like the sculptor at Mr. Rushmore, God sees to our very core and His vision for us is beyond our imagination.

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