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I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:15-17

Imagine I gave you a gift and told you it was a jig-saw puzzle and I wanted you to put it together. You unwrap the gift and find nothing but a plain brown box. Inside are several hundred (by your guess anyway) small pieces of weirdly shaped puzzle pieces. No doubt your first question would be, ‘Where’s the picture?’ My response would be, ‘Oh, there’s no picture. Just work at it awhile. It will come to you.’

I’d then go on to tell you that I have no idea how many pieces are in the puzzle or what the picture will be when you get finished. BUT, you must do the puzzle and each piece must fit exactly right or it won’t work.

Even if you were a master puzzle assembler, the task would be immense and frustrating. Most of us have a hard time putting together puzzles even if we have the picture and I would guess a fairly large number of puzzles are never finished do to lost pieces or lost interest.

One day Jesus had just finished washing the feet of His disciples. This was an act of huge humility, especially for a respected teacher such as Jesus. The washing of the feet was the dirtiest and lowest of all jobs during Jesus’ time.

He dried his hands with the towel around His waste and looked at His disciples. All of them with clean feet and, no doubt, confused looks on their faces. None of them that day sensed the significance of the act just performed.

I’d like to make an analogy that may be a bit of a stretch, but bear with me. In a sense Jesus said this to His disciples. “Life is like a jig-saw puzzle with thousands of pieces, each designed to fit perfectly together. I’m the picture on the box. If you look at me and all the things I’ve done with you, the pieces will fit together perfectly. It won’t be an easy task. Life is made up of many little pieces that come together to make a complete picture. I have your picture all completed. The pieces are there. You must find how they fit together. I’ll send my Holy Spirit to help you, but the responsibility is yours to put them together.”

Too many times we look at the big picture and try to get there without putting in place all the little things that make life complete. Too many times we struggle to find pieces that will interlock without looking at the picture that Jesus has for us.

Jesus didn’t give us rules to follow for that would be nothing more than religion and people had enough of religion in His day. He gave principles of living because relationships aren’t built on rules, they are built on principles, on love.

My silly little analogy of life falls short in one way. Remember the gift I gave you? Theoretically, if you tried hard enough and had a mind for puzzles and unlimited time, you could assemble that puzzle. Without Jesus as our example, the pieces of life will never fit together perfectly. Oh, people have tried through out time. They’ve tried science, they’ve tried social awareness, they’ve tried ‘new, improved, people friendly religions’, but all those things are like putting a puzzle together with a hammer. If you hit hard enough the pieces will fit together to form….’something’. Maybe even something that looks half-way acceptable. But nothing can match the picture Jesus has in mind for the puzzle pieces He’s given you. Follow His example in making your live complete.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, sometimes life is as confusing as a puzzle with no picture. Seems I’ve spent my life trying to make pieces fit together that have no business fitting where I’ve put them. Forgive me for not looking to you. Empower me with your Spirit to see how to put my life together in the way you want. In Your name I pray, Amen.

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