November 13, 2019

Pastoral Nuggets: Jigsaw Puzzles

When I was growing up, you know, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, we were so poor at 38 Border Road in LaGrange, Georgia – we couldn’t even pay attention!

Oh, I can tell you all kind of stories about just how poor we really were. We didn’t have indoor bathrooms until I was about thirteen years old. We certainly didn’t have any air conditioning.

We wore hand-me-down clothes. And no! We didn’t have computer games, nor were we allowed to stay inside the house during the day.

We barely had a television! The whole set was about 2’ square, had a black & white picture, and the picture tube was messed-up.

The bottom half didn’t work. So, the picture was all scrunched into the top part of the picture tube. It was interesting! And on & on I could go. But most likely, most of you reading this column today had a similar childhood.

Jigsaw puzzles was one way that momma and daddy occupied and spent quality family time with us children. Momma bought jigsaw puzzles for the whole family put together. And she bought ‘em with as many pieces as possible and as difficult to assemble as possible. She would lay the pieces out on a table and the whole family, her and daddy included, would go at it.

I have a distinct memory of one puzzle that was so difficult to put together, that my brother Frank fashioned a huge hand out of something, then any time somebody would fit a piece into the puzzle, he would say, “Give ‘em a big hand!” And while we all clapped, he would present that gigantic hand to them.

I think it took us about two weeks to put that thing together. I don’t know what it cost momma and daddy to buy that puzzle, but whatever the costs, those puzzles were some of the best investments they ever made!

Today, I sat and listened as my son-in-law, Bernie Pasley, preached a sermon using Lego pieces for an object lesson. His sermon started me thinking about today’s article. There’s a great parallel between Lego and jigsaw puzzle pieces. These parallels provide some great life-lessons we need to learn, or just maybe be reminded of:

1: There is a master designer.  Both Lego and the jigsaw companies hire master designers to create their product.  And amazingly, the master designer did not ask for, need, or require input from us regarding the design he created.    

2: Just because the Lego or the jigsaw is in a thousand pieces, doesn’t mean it’s broken.  It simply means it’s not assembled yet.

3: There is an example of the finished product.  In fact, it’s right there on the front of the box.  The master designer provided a portrait of what the finished product will look like.

4: There is an assembly process.  Regarding jigsaws, most people start by identifying and assembling the borders.

5: Each piece is designed to fit into a certain spot.  And it has no say regarding its spot!  

6: Finally, the beauty of the puzzle, or project, is only realized when all the individual pieces are snapped into their place and become interconnected – completing the whole.

As you read this column, I have no way of knowing what you may be experiencing in your life. However, regardless of what you’re experiencing, hear those life-lessons again: There is a Master Designer for your life. And although your life may be in a thousand pieces, it doesn’t mean you’re broken. You’re just not fully assembled yet! There is a design for you. Look at it and refocus on it.

There is a process you must go through. Trust the process. Find that spot where you uniquely fit. Allow yourself to be partnered with others.  And realize, your true beauty is revealed when you become interconnected with God, family, and friends, embrace your purpose for existing, and become a part of the whole – for which you were both designed and created to fit into and complete!

Brother Aaron

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