These are my two kiddos in the above picture. On the right is my son. Clean, organized, quiet, and typically unwilling to eat his dinner. He's a toddler who requests to use a napkin to wipe his mouth and hands. On the left is my daughter. Loud, messy, strong, and feisty, she devours her dinner in such a way that we have placed a tarp underneath her chair.
Right from birth, my children are unique. They are their own individual beings. Every child of God is created with distinct gifts, strengths, and abilities that make them extraordinary.
When I took the StrengthsFinder test a few years ago, my number one strength was "Individualization." The description: intrigued with the unique qualities of each person; has a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively. They nailed it. Every person we encounter has a story to tell and something to offer. We can learn something from anyone and everyone. Everyone is a gift.
My friend, Paul Martin, says that every person we encounter is a masterpiece, uniquely crafted by the Divine Artist. He didn't come up with the idea himself:
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)This isn't some sort of self-esteem pep talk. This is theology. You and I and every person we encounter are specially crafted, given gifts and personalities and strengths and characters, stamped with the imago dei and sent into the world to do the good things God planned for us.
Do you see the unique gifts and strengths and beauty in the people around you? Do you see the masterpiece that is you?