POIEMA at Work

I recently wrote an article for a magazine on how the incredible beauty of nature causes some people to pause and worship the creator of that magnificence. It’s hard for me, as a nature photographer, to look at the amazing diversity in the world and not believe it wasn’t designed by a incomparably gifted artist. In fact, in Romans 1:20 we read, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”  The phrase, “from what has been made” is from the Greek word “POIEMA” (poy-ay-ma) from where we get our English word “poem”. This word is translated to mean “masterpiece” which is a work of art of such excellence it sets it apart from others. Because of the overwhelming beauty in nature, because it is a masterpiece (POIEMA), people have no excuse when they say they have never heard of God. He is displaying himself throughout the world as evidenced by nature.

Its interesting to note this Greek word is only used once more in the New Testament of the Bible. In Ephesians 2:10 it says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” The word “handiwork” is the same Greek word “POIEMA”. As Christians we are God’s “POIEMA” or masterpiece and as such people should be able to look at us, look at our lives, and have no excuse to say they have never heard of or seen God.

What does this mean in practical terms? If people are to see God in us how should we be living our lives? It is so easy to focus on everything that is wrong, ugly and distorted in life. Christians have been called to good works. Jesus said the greatest commandment was to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves”. Loving people means meeting them in the ugly places of the world and ministering to them. We put our own needs aside and we get our hands dirty. We reach inside the darkest areas of a person’s life and bring them light. We don’t condemn or judge or reject. By doing this, we demonstrate we are a true “POIEMA”–God’s masterpiece which people can look at and know they have seen him.

I have a second cousin, Aaron Thornton, who is a gifted and uniquely talented artist. His paintings are bursting with brilliant color and full of distinct lines and angles. After seeing one of his paintings, you would recognize another because it is so amazingly original and beautiful. You could see one of his paintings, hanging in a gallery, and know the artist is Aaron Thornton.

It should be the same for Christians. We should be so different, so absolutely unique, people can look at us and know who our “artist” is. They should look at us, and know without doubt, we are God’s POIEMA. This is our calling in life to demonstrate to the world what a real masterpiece looks like and point them to the creator.