You weren’t “fearfully and wonderfully made” to put bumper stickers on God’s Rolls Royce creation, were you?
The above thought has its foundation from this verse.
Psa 139:14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
We’re to give thanks to God for fearfully and wonderfully making each of us to be who we are. And each of us should be in awe of His works, His creation. We know this fact so well that it gives us confidence knowing that we were made for His purpose. But it is sad that others may not see or understand this deep down in their soul about themselves. They and others discard, even depreciate to the point of worthlessness, the value of what God has created. You see this in how others are treated like the homeless, the oppressed, the widows, and the orphans.
The key moments that made me stop and examine this “fearfully and wonderfully made” thought was watching both Britain’s Got Talent show with Jonathan and Charlotte and Jahmene Douglass in Britain’s Got Talent. There is no denying their God-given singing skills; they are definitely fearfully and wonderfully made with their musical abilities. The same goes for each of us with our unique talents. Agreeably, not all of us can sing like them -- I have a hard time carrying a tune in a wet paper bag -- but each of us is created with our unique God-given talents for His assignments.
In fact, Mel Robbins’ 2011 TEDxSF Talk states the odds of combining your unique set of parents and their DNA to produce your unique DNA is 1 in 400 TRILLION! You are that unique! Oh, how fearfully and wonderfully and uniquely made you are!
But now, for the mental detour. Within the church, there are common and erroneous comments that “we’re filthy garments,” and “no good is within us,” and “when I am weak, He is strong.” These thoughts have some roots, some from this verse.
Isa 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
As a teenager, I misinterpreted, or the church incorrectly or inaccurately shared these Biblical errors. The error I considered, as with many others, was that those “filthy garments” was me as an individual, I was unworthy or worthless. In fact, you and I are NOT cheap, Jesus specifically died to save each of us.
So what does the plain text of Isa 64:6 say? “Our righteous deeds,” our sins, the unrighteous motivated actions we believers take, is about doing the wrong things which make us filthy. But in Christian circles, the issue of the phrase “filthy garment” is used to describe us as believers.
But how can we reconcile our being “filthy garments” with we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made”? These “filthy garments” foundational beliefs are a hindrance to our lives, especially our entrepreneurial lives. The change starts here.
John 8:31-32 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
If we continue in His Word, God’s truth, it shall set us free. From an entrepreneurial case, the more liberty, and freedom to please God following our God-given talents serving others in the marketplace, the more economic freedom everyone will have. The hindrances to fully apply all of our abilities in the marketplace have come from within the church. For some like myself, it started with Isa 64:6.
Like the erroneous comment, “money is the root of all evil,” so it is with similar comments that we as believers are “filthy garments.” The plain truth is this. It is the “the love of money [emphasis added] that is the root of all evil,” and it is “our righteous deeds” [emphasis added] which creates our filthy garments. If we believers were washed clean at salvation, and now have become filthy, then we can be made clean again. But God does not want us to stay as “filthy garments.”
Psa 51:7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
And this verse.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our [known] sins and to cleanse us from all [unknown] unrighteousness. [emphasis added]
Each time we confess, we’re made clean again, and no longer are we “filthy garments.” But enough of the detour, let’s get back on the right thought road.
Money and our God-given talents are not evil. For an entrepreneur, money is a tool, a certificate that says you’ve done well for others in supplying a good or service that they desire. At the moment of our salvation, God imputed a part of Himself into us so we can now do good deeds as tools for God. As “instruments of righteousness to God” (Rom 6:13b, emphasis added), our God-given talents are now tools for God in the marketplace. Our efforts with others will be rewarded for our marketplace works, whether we use our abilities for our own glory (wood, hay, straw) or His glory (gold, silver, precious stones, 1 Cor 3:11-15, Rev 22:12).
Rev 22:11-12 Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy. Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.
Jesus says He’ll reward everyone “according to what he has done,” not what he is. Who we are in the family of God and our God-given strengths and talents are our innate and inalienable foundation for the rest of our lives. It’s up to each of the church and to help develop what He has given us?
A pen or pencil has inherent value, Jonathan and Jahmene both had innate talents. But when does a pen/pencil or Jonathan/Jahmen’s singing voice achieve their greatest value? When they are put to use. A pen can write the right words that encourage others, or it can write lies and gossip that can discourage or destroy others. We as individuals are like the pen, it’s our free choice whether we decide to do good or evil works with our God-given talents. We choose whether we honor God or honor ourselves. Ultimately, the winner of Britain’s Got Talent sings before the Queen of Britain, thus reinforcing this Bible verse.
Prov 22:29 Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.
But what if Jonathan and Jahmene, or even you and your talents, were NOT discovered or did not put to use or were prevented or hindered from developing them, what then? Do you have the opportunities to develop your talents to the fullest for the marketplace so you will stand before kings and will not stand before obscure men? Why or why not?
We have innate and inalienable value as God’s creation. Our regrets won’t come from who we are “in Christ” as our identity and with our talents. Our sorrows will come when we fail to create value by the things we do, our deeds, that honor God. We are fearfully and wonderfully made to do good and to honor our Creator as co-creator with our creations…as entrepreneurs!