Paint By Numbers

Paint by numbers was a popular fad many years ago that still seems ingenious to me. I recently discovered it’s still available and making a comeback. For those of you who’ve never heard of it, you purchase a kit depicting a famous piece of art or beautiful landscape. Inside the kit are all your paints in numbered little plastic containers. The artwork is outlined on the canvas, with each blank area numbered. You simply match the numbered paint to the corresponding section and fill it in. Not the perfect activity if you’re a color-outside-the-line type of person, but it’s a great way to imitate Picasso.

As a young girl, I remember my dad sitting at the dining table scrunched over his masterpiece. I’d ask, “Dad, what are you painting?” He’d reply, “It’s a piece of art. It doesn’t look like much now, but just wait.” His statements returned to me while standing in Hobby Lobby looking at the nostalgic kits. I could almost hear the Master whisper, “You’re a piece of art. You may think you don’t look like much, but just wait.” 

At first glance, we might not be spectacular—a blank canvas waiting to be created. But God begins his work by adding a bit of blue, a touch of red, a swish of green—each a part of the process in developing us into who he created us to be. Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” The Creator of the universe assures us we are not a copy but an original being designed and painted by him. 

All great works of art take time. Michelangelo, for example, devoted four years of his life to painting the Sistine Chapel. And the Louvre Museum has verified that Leonardo Da Vinci spent 12 years perfecting the smile of Mona Lisa. From the day of our conception to the moment we take our last breath, God continues to perfect us. 

The colors he chooses might represent growing through a victory, overcoming an obstacle, or encountering a trial. It might seem like our journey is taking too long, or we might not understand our path. We might be looking only at the number one paint while he says, “I’m busy painting the number seven paint—you’re not ready for that other color yet.  When I’m done, you’ll be amazed at the transformation.”

Philippians 1:6 promises us, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” The Master Artist continues painting. Each day is another spot to fill until one day he’ll put down his brush, and voilà, he’ll unveil his masterpiece.  

About Shelley Pulliam   Read more by this author...

Howdy! (A girl from Oklahoma has to use this as her greeting) I’m Shelley Pulliam, executive director of Arise Ministries and former teacher of hormone-filled 8th graders. But my real claim to fame rests in my award as second grade spelling bee champ and my recent gun-handling skills as I train to competition shoot. It helps me be on guard when Satan comes knocking. I’m a voracious reader and can frequently be found at the theater enjoying movie marathons where my record stands at six in one day. I’m a single, never married, who loves to pour into children at every opportunity. Let me know if you have any for sale. You can connect with me on social media.

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