Friday, May 28, 2010

The Swordmaker (Part Four)

"Don't become a sword maker if you want to make money." In a world obsessed with accumulating wealth, these words struck a chord, a big chord. Why would anyone devote themselves to something so impractical and outdated? It's not like we have to cut off someones head or go into battle. The samurai is dead and gone. Pragmatism rules.

Kobayashi sensei defies this shallow utilitarian way of looking at life. He continually makes swords, about two to three each year. Why does he do it? If there is one simple reason, it could be this: He loves it. He loves the art of producing something so rare and perfect in a world of cheap imitations and plastic trinkets; he loves the way of the warrior in a time when people just admire but fail to live it; he loves the process of turning nothing into something; he loves the tradition and skill passed down to him from his ancestors; he loves being a sword maker and could care less about selling his soul for a more lucrative way of life. There may be other reasons, but these are a few that come to mind.

What about the Christian? Are we not outdated? Turning the other cheek, tithing your money, going to church, believing in truth, believing in God, believing in the Bible as the Word of God, purging your life of bad character (detoxing), and walking in love, humility, mercy, kindness, generosity, and patience; are we not foolish to live in such a way? "Hey, if you don't fight for your rights, then you will get stepped on! I don't have time for all that mercy stuff. Why are you giving money away when you can invest it into stocks? You read the Bible?"

Yet people still admire sacrificial love. Take for instance, Mother Theresa, she was loved and respected by all. Why? She lived the life. She was the message. You could say she was a sword of truth that cut through all the lies and coldness of our society. People may have thought, "Wow, there is still goodness in our world."

When people look at Kobayashi sensei's craft, they admire his work. They stand in awe when they look at the beauty and symmetry of his samurai swords. They see him in his swords.

I'm not saying this will happen with everyone (people liking you when you walk like Christ), people will hate you and Christianity despite whatever you do. However, when we become the message of Christ, rather than just talk about it, some of the world will take notice (1 Cor 9:22). I say some because Jesus said, "If they hated me they will hate you." There will be people that will hate you no matter what you do. That's okay. We still need to be light in the midst of darkness (Matthew 5:16). We need to let the light shine out of the sword of our lives. Some will turn and be saved.

Like Kobayashi sensei, God is a master sword maker. He could care less about the world's value system. He will continue to fashion us into his beautiful workmanship in the fiery furnaces of this life (Ephesians 2:20). Creation longs for the arrival of the true sons and daughters of God (Romans 8:19). They long to see something special. They want to see the sword of the Spirit (Ephesian 6:17) in person. They want to see us become the sword.

"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulation, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope."
Romans 5:3-4


Kealoha777 said...

Morning John, part IV was very encouraging and it put practicality into all that was done for The Lord at Izumo, Tokyo, Hawaii. The Sword should be on its way by now and to arrive if not already into Kerry's hands. I started to share with my students Kobayashi's work and also talking about Dean, Tetsuro, and showing pictures and some videos. In the future, I also would like to share some of your writings and blogging to my advanced bilingual students. Would that be okay? It is a way of sharing The Lord's message in the future with your permission. Blessings in Jesus. Ron Kealoha Netsu Chang.

John said...

HI Ron
No problem. Please share with your students whatever you want. LOve you bro. Keep up the good work! Ganbatte!!!