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Categorized | From the Pulpit

Unnoticed latticework

Rev. Bill Johnson

Cedar Springs United Methodist

140 S. Main St.

Cedar Springs, MI  49319


There is a passage of scripture that seldom makes its way into the pulpit, as far as I know. Perhaps this is because it includes intricate details that some would find tedious–a description of work done by a bronze artisan whom Solomon contracted to help complete the Temple. Solomon is given credit for being the construction engineer and the builder of much of the Temple, but he recognized that Hiram from Tyre had special skills and knowledge in bronze that Solomon needed in order to cap off his building project. 

1 Kings 7 tells the story, and in between the lines there is something of real importance. Hiram’s work was magnificent and beautiful, yet much of his best work was on the tops of pillars, eighteen cubits (thirty feet) off the ground. Without aerial photography, no one would see the splendid contribution of this artist to this architectural masterpiece of its day; that is, no one but God.

In his devotional book, 200 Pomegranates and an Audience of One, Shawn Wood uses this story to remind readers that we can make a difference in the world sometimes for the lasting enjoyment of others, but also sometimes for God’s eyes only. It is a message of hope, that even if our contribution seems to go unnoticed by others, God sees and values our work.

There is power in unnoticed contributions…the small acts of kindness like caring notes written to homebound members, phone calls or emails to speak a word of encouragement or thanks, or even to hold someone accountable to a promise. Atop the visible pillars of life rest many generous acts of faith that will never be known. Like sparkling bronze latticework seen only from above, God values this work.

Recognition is wonderful; human reward has its place. Just ask anyone who has ever earned an award or medal in competition. But never doubt the value of less notable acts done with love; they are not wasted. God, who knows our hearts, our acts, is finally the one whose recognition matters most. 

In a culture that celebrates the glitter and flash of show-stopping worship and ministries drawing headlines and praise, it is not what we receive from them that matters as much as what is given without fanfare. I’m betting that Hiram knew this as he crafted his pomegranates of bronze. On the tops of shiny pillars that earn our respect and honor, are hidden some of the most splendid gifts. Know that God sees them. 

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