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Summary: God's vision for our lives involves much more than what we can see before us.

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The Big Picture

Colossians 1:1-15

Anyone who has any ambitions of accomplishing something truly monumental needs first and foremost to have the "big picture" in clear view. When Michelangelo was commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1507 to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel he didn't just pick up his brush and begin painting. He labored for months over hundreds of sketches, colors schemes, and themes before he ever began setting his scaffolding in place. Michelangelo painted while lying on his back from 1508 to 1512, working meticulously on every detail until the Chapel was completed. It has been said that one day Michelangelo was painting in an obscure corner of the Chapel when he became frustrated with his work. He was so frustrated that he decided to blot out what he had done and start over. One of the workers who was working in the Chapel said, "Michelangelo, why do you worry over something nobody will ever know about?" The great artist said, "Because I will know." It was the big picture that gave him the endurance, stamina, and vision necessary to complete the details of his work with such determination and focus.

On another occasion, the Italian sculptor Agostino d'Antonio worked diligently on a large piece of marble trying to determine what he would do with it. Unable to produce his desired masterpiece, he lamented, "I can do nothing with it." Other sculptors also worked this difficult piece of marble, but to no avail. Michelangelo discovered the stone and the problems the other sculptors were having. He studied the large piece of marble and mapped out his plan. Four years later the world beheld one of the greatest pieces of work anyone had ever sculpted -- Michelangelo's "David."Michelangelo began his work on the colossal figure of David in 1501, and by 1504 the sculpture stood 14 ft. 3 in. tall and was placed outside the

Palazzo Vecchio. Michelangelo kept the big picture in mind throughout his four years of labor and it was the big picture that gave him the endurance and vision necessary to complete such a monumental task. Gutzon Borglum had a plan when he set out to carve four faces of prominent American's into the face of Mt. Rushmore. Mr. Borglum saw the big picture before he ever started blasting stone and carving the details of the faces of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson. President Calvin Coolidge dedicated the beginning of Gutzon's work in 1927, but the work would not be finished for another fourteen years. Mr. Borglum worked day-in and day-out on the side of the mountain until he died in March of 1941, never seeing his finished work - or so they say. Borglum's son Lincoln took over his father's vision and completed the work for the world to marvel at for generations to come, but I say that Gutzon saw the work, the big picture, and that is what inspired him to work so enthusiastically. When finished the entire sculpture was 365 feet long and 160 feet from the top of the heads to the lowest point on the coast. Washington's face was 60 feet long, his nose 20 feet long, his eyes 11 feet wide, and his eye projection was 22 inches. Roosevelt's mustache when finished was 20 feet long and Lincoln's mole 16 inches across. Gutzon Borglum had a plan and he worked his plan until his death.

Likewise, when Jesus prepared to leave His disciples and ascend to the right hand of the Father, He gave His followers a plan that was much more than details -- it was the big picture. Jesus told His followers in Matthew 28,

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. {19} Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Mat 28:18-20 NIV)

Jesus didn't tell them how to build the buildings they would meet in one day. He didn't insist that they use one particular kind of music or certain musical instruments. He didn't spell out for them if they were to use the King James Version of the Bible or the New International Version. Jesus didn't insist that they use individual communion cups instead of one common cup. There were a lot of details that He could have instructed them on while He was visiting with them for the last time on earth, but instead He planted within their hearts the big picture of all the nations of the world becoming His disciples. The big picture is crucial if we are truly going to make our mark on this planet for the Kingdom!

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