Christmas is over, but how many puzzle addicts still have that last piece to put in place before they can box up their holiday project. For many, this annual tradition involves the exchange, purchase, or breaking out of storage one or more jigsaw puzzles, spreading the pieces on a flat surface, and spending hours putting them together. The project may involve several small ones, but puzzle addicts usually go for bigger and more difficult challenges each year . . . 2000 - 3000 pieces, or puzzles with two pictures - one on either side of the pieces, or some other complications. And there are puzzles with pictures of marbles or matches, or any objects that look much alike in shape, size or color, just to make reassembling more intriguing. When the puzzle is finished, such a sense of satisfaction - unless one piece is missing!
That last piece, seemingly insignificant among thousands when the box was first opened and dumped out, becomes the object of a search, and unless it is found, its absence totally ruins the finished project. There are few puzzle addicts who have not experienced the emotional disappointment of just one missing piece.
Over the last few weeks, our church congregation has been involved in some extra prayer activities. One of them included an opportunity for the children to pray. A young man, about eight years old, offered a prayer that went something like this: “Lord, thank you for putting everything together here on earth just like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, so that when we go to heaven to be with You, there will be one big beautiful picture.”
Later, his mother told me that she had been working on a puzzle and told him that God was making a picture too. His young mind caught a vivid impression of something that many adults either fail to see or forget. The Lord truly is putting together something of beauty. He is building His church; calling His people out of sin and out of this world, and into a life of holiness and to bring praise to His name. And as we respond to that call, believing on His Son and becoming part of His “puzzle,” we are responsible for calling others, to live as we ought, and to glorify Him. We are to fit into the right place, becoming part of the whole picture, and we are to seek those pieces that are still missing.
In my Christian life, sometimes I neglect to do the things that I should do, and excuse myself with, “What difference will it make, no one will notice anyway.” Then comes the imagery of a puzzle with a missing piece. My failure could spoil the whole picture. James 4:17 says, “He who knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.”
For some, “puzzle-season” will not come again until next Christmas. There are many other things to do. But for Christians, the putting together of the bigger picture, will all the pieces intact, should be our constant occupation.