We Are His Workmanship

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which god prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).

You probably know the name C. S. Lewis.

If you do, there’s a good chance you know his name in association with one of his best-known books Mere Christianity. Just as likely, you might know the series of books he did for children, The Chronicles of Narnia. At the very least, you might have seen one of the movies based on that series of books.

What you might not know is that this brilliant and widely admired man lived with a nagging sense of being a failed writer.

His earliest literary aspirations had nothing to do with the Christian faith. Lewis had ambitions as a poet. Years before Lewis re-discovered his faith, years before Mere Christianity or any other work of Christian apologetics, Lewis published a volume of poems under the title Spirits in Bondage (1919). The book didn’t do very well, generating both lukewarm sales and lukewarm reviews.

A decade later, in a letter dated August 1930, Lewis wrote to his friend Arthur Greeves: “From the age of sixteen onwards I had one single ambition from which I never wavered, in the prosecution of which I spent every ounce I could, on which I really and deliberately staked my whole contentment: and I recognize myself as having unmistakably failed in it.”

God’s Poem

I’ve tried my hand at poetry only a few times. None of those efforts produced anything that encouraged me to keep working at it. Simply put, poetry is hard. Good poetry is harder still.

A poem is a highly crafted piece of writing. Every word demands attention. Poems have a certain rhythm and meter. Sometimes words rhyme, but not always. Some forms, such as a sonnet, conform to a specific pattern line by line. Poems can’t be written in a hurry, and they can’t be read in a hurry. That probably explains why few people read poetry.

Knowing this, it’s interesting that in Ephesians 2:10 Paul uses a Greek word that gives us the English word ‘poem.’ Paul writes that we are God’s poiema.

The NIV Bible renders that word ‘handiwork.’

The NRSV translation says we are God’s ‘masterpiece.’

The ESV translates the Greek word as ‘workmanship.’

You get the idea. Paul is reminding us that we are a highly crafted creation of a grace-giving God. You were made with intent and purpose. And not only that, the crafting and intent of the maker is the key to discovering your best life – a life full of meaning. The life your creator intends for you to live.

The things you love, the things that bring you joy, the abilities or skills that feel second nature to you – none of those things are an accident. You are God’s poiema. His poem. His masterpiece.

Your Deep Gladness

The 1981 film Chariots of Fire is the story of Eric Liddell and his place on Britain’s 1924 Olympic team. Liddell was also a missionary and his training for the Olympics delayed his going to the mission field – something that greatly displeased his sister.

In a scene where Eric tries to explain his passion for running to his sister, he reassures her of his commitment to his missionary calling. But then he adds that the Olympics is also a kind of calling. “God made me fast, and when I run I feel his pleasure.”

Here’s a question to consider today: Is there something that you do, that when you do it, you feel God’s pleasure?

Whatever that might be, then do it. That is the ‘good work’ that God has prepared in advance for you to do. You’ve been crafted in such a way that God is honored and glorified when you do that ‘good work.’

Frederick Buechner is credited with saying that your true calling is “where the world’s great need and your deep gladness meet.”

So where is your deep gladness? And how might you use that in the world around you today?


Gracious God, let us feel your pleasure in what we do today. Give us wisdom to know what you’ve created us to do, and how you want to use us to extend your grace to the world we live in. Help us to do the good works you had in mind when you created us, and we will live each day for the glory of your name and the good of those near us. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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