A Master Worker Shaping Something Beautiful

January 4, 2019

We stand at the brink of life, ready to start, or we stand at the ruins of life, knowing we have to start over. We’re ready to build, or to rebuild. But where do we start? Someone has to be there to assist us in putting it all together in the right order, in the right way, at the right time. And so, before hundreds of proverbs are dumped on us like so many tools from a toolbox, we’re introduced to Wisdom. Wisdom is personified as a woman who is at God’s side as a master worker. She stands beside God as the one who puts everything into place, who makes sure everything fits (Proverbs 8:30). She knows where to put each piece of material so that the result will be a beautifully built life, not just a scrap heap of so many warped days and weathered years.

All of us are presented with similar materials for life: We have bodies and minds and emotions; we have families and friends and coworkers; we have homes and neighborhoods and jobs; we have ground beneath us, plants around us, and a sky above us. We have creation, and we have covenant. We have the good creation that God with a word called into existence out of nothingness, and we have a life of forgiveness and love that has been accomplished by Christ’s death and resurrection. In short, we have an external world of things and an internal world of relationships. How should we respond to those two worlds? How can we avoid being confused or overwhelmed by them? We can’t. Unless, of course, someone will guide us. God has given us such a Guide in the Holy Spirit, who was in Creation as the Spirit of Wisdom, as a master worker shaping something beautiful in our lives out of the raw materials of each day.

And notice the mood in which this work was done in Creation . . . and is still being done today in the new creation within us: “Day after day I was there, with my joyful applause, always enjoying his company, delighted with the world of things and creatures, happily celebrating the human family” (verses 30-31). There’s playful abandon in this kind of life. Life isn’t, at its essence, an awful problem to be solved but a playful adventure to be lived. The task of the gospel isn’t to burden us with guilt but to free us with grace.

Contemplative Questions

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all there is to do in building a life based on the biblical blueprint? Is the problem with understanding the blueprint, or with not knowing how to use the tools provided you, or with feeling you don’t have the strength to do the work alone? Does the work fill you with delight or drudgery?

A biblical life is hard work, but it should also be happy work, a source of pleasure. And one of the things that makes it pleasurable is knowing that God is working beside you, overseeing the project at every stage. Take a minute to step back from the work in progress that is your life. How does it look to you? Is anything out of place? Does anything not fit? Is anything not plumb with the Word of God?


Thank you, God, that you didn’t leave me to sort out all the raw materials of my life without instructions or without someone to come alongside to help me put everything together.

Thank you for your Holy Spirit and for all the ways he helps me turn the blueprint for my life into a building. And not just any building, but a well-built building, sturdy and strong and sure. And not just a well-built building, but a beautifully built building, one that’s as aesthetically striking as it is architecturally sound.

I especially pray for his help in this one area of my life . . .

Further Reading

John 16:12-15—The role the Holy Spirit plays in helping us.
Romans 8:1-2—The power of God’s Spirit at work in our lives.

“A Master Worker Shaping Something Beautiful” is one of 52 contemplative reading from The Message Devotional Bible. This special edition Bible contains notes and reflections from Eugene Peterson set alongside the Scripture that inspired them.