Yesterday we were at Carnoustie Community Church and I did a children’s talk based on the jigsaw we had just finished building at home. The slides are available here.
I asked the kids “Who likes to do jigsaws? Who knows what this jigsaw is a picture of? How many pieces are there, do you think?” 1000 pieces! We started it in January and thought it would be impossible to finish – all the pieces are the same shape, very few different colours or sharp lines.
“Who knows how to do jigsaws? Where do you start?” – with the corners and edges – have to find the straight lines to make the frame. “Where do we go then?” – the bits that are clear, all the tiger’s face, or all this green bits of leaf, then the ears… “What do you need to help you? Do you just make up the picture as you go?” Of course not, you need the final picture of what it should look like – so you can see what type of colour goes where. One piece at a time, until you have finished it – just finished on Friday, only taken two months! A real team effort from all the family.
It reminded me that life is like a big jigsaw puzzle, we have been designed to enjoy life a certain way and life has been designed to work a certain way – the Maker has made us to fit in a certain part of the big jigsaw. Some of us maybe don’t know where we fit or we don’t like how God has designed us to fit in the big jigsaw – we take our piece and force it to fit somewhere it shouldn’t. “Can you make a jigsaw work like that?” I asked the children, “No” they responded.
In order to help us understand where we fit, God has even given us the final picture to look at – through the life of Jesus and the teachings of the bible, we have the perfect final picture. Only when we look at the picture and follow its instructions can we live as God intended and enjoy real life.
James described it in a similar way in chapter 1 verses 22-25 – as a mirror. It’s no good looking in a mirror and seeing a big piece of tomato ketchup on your cheek and then turning away and forgetting all about it. The mirror shows up the imperfections and prompts us to change, likewise the jigsaw shows us the final picture to help us find life as it was meant to be.
One way this works is in our relationships – God has said that the way the jigsaw fits together is one woman and one man for life. And he also says that we should only marry those who love Jesus like we do. Sometimes this is hard and makes our feelings in conflict with what God says. But it’s always worth it to follow the jigsaw’s design – not in order to be accepted by God, but in order to enjoy his presence and blessing on our life.
Some of us older ones need to hear that with God failure is not final – even when we put our piece in the wrong place, he is able to forgive, heal and restore. Each day he gives us breath, is a new day to decide to make our piece a part of his final picture. May we know the joy of living in union with God for our lives.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.” (NIV) James 1.22-25