Friday, January 16, 2015

How to Carve a Duck

Carolyn and I met Phipps Festus Bourne in 1995 in his shop in Mabry Hill, Virginia. Bourne, who died in 2002, was a master wood carver whose carvings are almost exact replicas of real objects.

When asked how he managed to carve such lifelike ducks, Bourne replied,  “Carving a duck is simple. You just look at a piece of wood, get it in your head what a duck looks like and then cut off everything that doesn’t look like it.”

So it is with God. He looks at you and me, envisions what a gracious, God-like woman or man looks like and then begins to painstakingly carve away everything that does not conform to that image.  If we could but see ourselves when God is finished with his artistry, it would take our breath away.

But first we must put ourselves in his hands. We must give ourselves to Him fully without reservation, nothing withheld, our wills conformed to his own. In practice that means we must be willing to do the very next thing he asks us to do. If we accept the task he will give us the grace to comply. “The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it” (2 Thessalonians 5:).

Then he will give us another task and then another. I don’t know what he will ask you to do, but it will be the very best thing you could do and in due time you will begin to think and act as he does.

Do you long for that likeness? Put yourself in the Master Carver’s hands.


Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me—
All his wonderful passion and purity!
O Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine,
Til the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.

                                —Tom Jones

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