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Michelangelo's Final Work Didn't Achieve Greatness

Michelangelo's final work was called Rondanini Pietà, on which he worked for ten years. Giorgio Vasari, a contemporary of Michelangelo, wrote that Michelangelo "ended up breaking the block [for this sculpture], probably because [it] was full of impurities and so hard that sparks flew from under his chisel." The sculpture was rescued by a servant and survives to this day. It bears the marks of Michelangelo's chisel, but none of the beauty of his earlier work Pietà.

What happened? Another sculptor named Lorenzo Dominguez once summarized the dilemma and unpredictability of working with stone. He said, "The stone wants to be stone; the artist wants it to be art."

The same dilemma exists for those of us who are the work of God's hands. In an attempt to free the image of Christ that's within us, God begins chipping away everything that isn't Jesus. The stone of our lives either submits to the chipping or it resists.

If it submits, features of the Savior begin to emerge from our life. If it submits long enough, the Savior himself emerges. If, however, it resists, and continues to resist, there will come a day when God will let the stone be stone.

C. S. Lewis said as much when he stated that there are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "Okay, go ahead and have it your way."

Possible Preaching Angles: You can use this story to either talk about disobedience and rebellion in the life of the Christian or to illustrate the gift of human free will we can use to reject God and end up in hell.

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