Yesterday, my page-a-day calendar of 1,000 places to see before you die featured the statue of David in Florence, Italy. Most of the time, I skim the blurb about each place, but not yesterday. The last sentence almost seemed like an afterthought, but it completely blew me away: “Michelangelo was just 26 when he began work on David, using a block of marble that had been judged defective and discarded.”
While Michelangelo’s age is interesting, I was drawn to the second part of the sentence. The marble had been judged defective and was discarded. The artist was able to coax a masterwork from “inferior” marble.
That story reminds me of the original David. He, too, was overlooked by people. When the prophet Samuel sought to anoint the next king of Israel, he was drawn to the wrong person. God had to remind him, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7).
David was derided by his brother as well as Saul when he wanted to fight Goliath. “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth,” (1 Samuel 17:33).
In the end, it didn’t matter what other people thought of David. It mattered what God saw and brought out of him. People judged David to be inferior, but God wrought him into a warrior and king.
Such is true of us today. Regardless of what we see (or don’t), God is still in the business of turning the world upside-down. In Jesus’ hands, the most damaged raw materials become works of art. May we trust in God’s transformational work in both our own lives and the lives of those we’d like to judge defective and discard.