Puzzles

I’ve spent a lot of time working jigsaw puzzles. My granddad enjoyed putting them together, and most of the puzzle time I’ve invested was at my grandparents’ house.
I was thinking how puzzles relate very well to different aspects of our lives.

Some single men or women may have a list of qualifications they’re looking for in their eventual spouse. But in the end, the person they end up with may be completely different from what they imagined—perhaps even better than they imagined. God knows what is best for us even when we don’t. I’ve heard many stories, some first hand, of people who thought they knew what they wanted when all along God knew better than they did. God can make the right man and right woman fit together just like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

And two jigsaw pieces can sometimes be nothing alike, yet they fit together. Many times I’ve been putting together a puzzle, and I’ll be looking for the matching piece to a piece I have in my hand. When I eventually found the matching piece, it wasn’t what I had pictured it to be.

When you’re working a puzzle, sometimes you find two pieces right away that fit together. And how often is this true of men and women? I’ve known of multiple cases where a couple found each other when they were very young, and they ended up having a happy marriage.
Other times when working a puzzle you may spend thirty minutes, an hour, or even days trying to find the right fit for one particular puzzle piece. By comparison, some men or women may wait or search for years or decades before the right person comes along.

The Lord’s church and her gifts can also be compared to a jigsaw puzzle. God has given different gifts “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,” (Ephesians 4:12). And we should be thankful that we’re not all alike. The different gifts fit together beautifully just like the beautiful picture of a finished puzzle.
We all have our strengths, and we all have our weaknesses. Some of God’s people are so focused on adhering to the doctrine taught in the Bible and contending “for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3) that they fail to show forth love as they ought. They don’t show forth charity as the Apostle Paul taught in I Corinthians 13.
But some of God’s children go too far the other way and are so concerned with loving everybody and keeping the peace that they aren’t paying attention to the other important work of maintaining discipline and seeing that all things are “done decently and in order,” (I Corinthians 14:40).
You need those hard, straight lines sometimes—they’re the edge pieces that make sure we stay within a particular border. But we need those others, too. That’s where the beauty of the jigsaw puzzle normally lies: in the middle where the pieces have rounded edges. It’s a beautiful thing to see brothers and sisters in Christ showing forth love and showing their softer sides.
We all have our gift. We all have our place to fill. Are you filling your place? Or are you that piece that fell underneath the table and is keeping the puzzle from being as beautiful as it could be? Maybe you’re a missing edge piece. Maybe you’re one of those hard, straight lines that the church needs to make sure we adhere to the doctrine taught in God’s book. Maybe you’re one of the pieces with rounded edges that could be following Paul’s exhortation to “comfort the feebleminded” (I Thessalonians 5:14) and “edify one another” (I Thessalonians 5:11).
Did you ever work a puzzle with sky, or clouds, or grass? There are sometimes a lot of pieces that look alike. Take the sky, for instance. Had they feelings, those blue pieces may feel as if they have no special gift. Yet each one of them is unique, and each one has its proper place. And the puzzle just isn’t the same without each one of them in their proper place, doing what they were called to do.
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