By Sam Whatley
In 1463 members of the City Council of Firenze (Florence) Italy decided they needed a monument to enhance the prestige of their city. They settled on commissioning a sculptor to carve a giant statue to stand in front of city hall. Someone suggested a Biblical character wrought in the neoclassical style, an expression of beauty and strength.
They approached Agostino di Duccio, who agreed to their terms. Duccio went to the quarry near Carrara and marked off a nineteen-foot slab to be cut from the white marble. However, he had the slab cut too thin. When the block was removed, it fell, leaving a deep fracture down one side. The sculptor declared the stone useless and demanded another but the city council refused. Consequently, the gleaming block of marble lay on its side for the next thirty-eight years, a source of embarrassment to everyone.
Then in 1501 the council approached the son of a local official, asking him if he would complete the ambitious project using the broken slab. Fortunately for them, the young man was Michelangelo Buotarroti. He was twenty-six years old, filled with energy, skill, and imagination. Michelangelo locked himself inside the workshop behind the cathedral to chisel and polish the stone for three years. When the work was finished, it took forty-nine men five days to bring it to rest before the city hall. Archways were torn down. Narrow streets were widened. People from across Europe came to see the fourteen-foot statue of David relaxing after defeating Goliath. The giant stone had been transformed from a massive waste of rock into a masterpiece.
The difference in the attitudes of the two sculptors toward the stone is striking. One refused to even begin the work. The other assessed the situation and then patiently endured the sacrifice and discipline necessary. Does that remind you of the difference between you taking charge of your life and God taking charge?
When we are so determined to remain in control of our circumstances, we keep God and His Holy Spirit at a distance. We hold on to the wrecks we have made through our ignorance and pride. We cling to self-pity instead of releasing our burdens into the hands of our Savior and Friend. We are resisting the touch of the Master’s hand. Can we not realize that He is infinitely more qualified to shape our future than we are?
Call on the One who inspired Michelangelo. He offers you a new life, not just “one day,” but today. If you serve the Son of God, surely you can become His masterpiece.