I find the public television show Antiques Roadshow fascinating. Guests wait in long lines holding assorted items: statues, paintings, china, and even old military weapons. Antique experts scrutinize the condition and value of each item. Most people discover their beloved heirloom is only valuable because of the sentiment it carries, but a few items—especially when signed by a famous maker or artist—are worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Isn’t it amazing that a small marking by a known artist will make what appears to be an ordinary item intrinsically more valuable? And so it is with us. While we may not always feel like our lives are particularly important or worthwhile, we have worth based on our relationship to our Creator.
In Ephesians 2:10, Paul writes, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” In the New Living Translation, the word workmanship is translated as “masterpiece.” Both translations help us understand how God values us.
The Hebrew word translated as workmanship is used in the Old Testament primarily to describe the artistic skills necessary to fashion beautiful items. For instance, a lampstand is hammered from gold, with a base of flowers, in a pattern designed by God Himself (Num. 8:4). Skilled artisans were valued as they created items for the tabernacle and later the temple, using the very best materials to honor God.
In this letter from Paul to the Ephesians, the Greek word refers to anything made or created. And, it is used to refer to us! Paul says we are God’s masterpiece, His handiwork. God, the supreme Artist, was intimately involved in our creation.
His original creation of man and woman, Adam and Eve, occurred in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 2). And, we have been created again, a second time, through our new birth in Jesus Christ. God’s workmanship in us is ongoing. While we are made new in Christ and that redemptive work is complete (Col. 2:10), God continues to work in our lives, shaping us into a thing of great beauty that will be fully realized only in eternity. You have extraordinary value. You are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.