Workmanship, Craftsmanship, Masterpiece


Dear Minster and friends,

Some verses of scripture are so full of meaning that we need to come around them again and again, perhaps like your favourite view, that looks incredible any time of year and from any angle. You never get tired of it and it always brings you something new.

For me, one of these verses is Ephesians 2:10:

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (‭ESV‬‬)

Paul, though he was an apostle, was also a craftsman, dedicated to doing good work, and also to apprenticeship – to training others. This verse is full of deep references to this approach to trade, work and business.

Firstly, we are God’s workmanship, but the word is often translated as ‘masterpiece’, or ‘craftsmanship’. In many ancient trades, an apprentice would learn from his master, and at the end of this training, he would produce a masterpiece. It was a piece of work that displayed that they had not only understood all the basic skills of the trade, but had done something exceptional, masterful. This piece was then judged, and after it had been accepted, the student would be given the right to become a master himself, training and apprenticing others.

We are already His work, made and created through matter, and perfected through grace. But He has called us to be students, made for purpose, made to do good work. Maybe a student is not always a master…we cannot create perfect human beings, we cannot create salvation or redemption, but we can do GOOD works.

Thirdly, a master prepares work for the apprentice to do that he knows can be achieved. As a school teacher prepares a lesson, so a master prepares the work for his apprentice. God has a specific area of skill and expertise, of work, mapped out for us. Only He knows the work, and only He truly understands what we might be capable of.

Jesus spent his life in the context of apprenticeship and work in his father’s carpentry business. Planks of wood surrounded his sight and the smell of sawdust filled his nostrils. From the moment of his birth in a wooden feeding trough, to his death on a wooden cross, he was always thinking of the work prepared in advance for him to do.

So… know that you are a masterpiece this week, and walk into the good works that your Master has prepared for you to do.

With much love,