The Old Brush

It was a ticket writing brush, designed for purpose. I loved it because it fit so well in my hand, and I loved the marks it made. 

This brush is not pointy – I’m not keen on sharp marks as I paint. It’s strong but also soft, and pliable. I love this brush, but you’ve guessed that. 

The thing is – it’s getting old and has lost its spring. A few hairs have fallen out and it’s not the shape it once was. Now in my minds eye I am comparing my brush to my good self and I’m chuckling! 

When I was a sign writer I used to buy my specialist brushes from a firm called Handover. I’m talking 38 years ago. Imagine my delight to find them still in business and on-line. So, I chose a new brush, one that I thought was ‘my brush’. But when it arrived, it wasn’t, so I chose again. Eventually after much discussion they offered to make me a brush exactly like my original! I mean – this brush is mine!  Fashioned after my own requirements.  And there isn’t another like it!

                                      Here it is….

The thing is, as an artist, I have many brushes and they all fulfil a different role; I reach for them all in turn. 

It is so very tempting to look around at people and see how grand they are, and how large their purpose is. And it’s tempting to think that they are more favoured by God or more important to Him.   

When I’m painting, if I want to paint a large dramatic sky, I will reach for a grand brush – and with sweeping confident strokes, will make a bold statement. But if I want to work on some less obvious but vital part, then I reach for a small seemingly insignificant brush. Because you see – every part is important and each brush is designed for it’s part. 

I have just been washing my brushes after a painting session and wondered – do I have a special one? Yes I do.  Each one!  I take great pleasure in them all; they are all special to me – every last one of my cranky brushes! 

We are loved by God and specially designed for purpose!

‘God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.’  Ephesians 3:10 

When my brush arrived, it was like having my old brush back – but renewed. 

We too need to be renewed. To be made righteous and truly holy to reflect the image of God our creator. Then He will delight in using us for His glory. 

‘Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.’   Colossians 3:10 

As an end note I’d like to add that when I was an art student learning the skill of painting, I once bleated to a tutor that I couldn’t paint, and would be give me a few tips? He told me to stop crying – I could cry at 70 if I still couldn’t paint! I remembered this, and have applied myself ever since and I’m still learning. But he also told me how to trim a brush to make it the right shape! He proceeded to take out a blade and he cut away all those beautifully shaped hair ends and reshaped it into something else, and my spirit cringed within me. I remember this well but never applied it because why would one abuse what a craftsman had already made so perfectly for it’s purpose?  Far better to select a suitable brush. 

As Christians we often commit to doing things that we are not designed for, either out of pressure from others, eagerness to serve, or because we simply don’t know what we are designed for. And we force ourselves into a different shape. This can distract us or wear us out and render us invaluable for our true calling.

I believe there is so much freedom in knowing our purpose in Christ and to not only pursue it wholeheartedly, but to also be content in what it is. In that there is great joy. 

‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.’ Ephesians 2:10

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