Seeing the Unseen in Others: Unleashing Hidden Potential

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Michelangelo Buonarrati is historically one of the greatest sculptors and painters of all time.  He is credited with much of the artwork in the Vatican as well as other masterpieces scattered throughout Italy.  He was commissioned by Pope Julius II to construct his tomb in 1505 which is now housed in the Church of San Pietro in Rome.  The hallmark of this tomb is the statue of Moses which stands high above the other sculptures.

The story is told of Michelangelo carving away at a massive granite block, producing the half-completed statue of Moses’ face, arms, and the tablets containing the Ten Commandments.  One of the townspeople walked into his work area and asked why he chose granite instead of marble, granite being the more difficult stone to work with.  Michelangelo responded, “When I saw the granite slab, I knew he was in there.  I just decided to help him come out. 

Only the eyes, heart, and passion of a true artist can see the potential in an ordinary hunk of rock.  Others may dismiss it

  • It’s too hard to work with
  • It’s not worth the effort
  • It will take too much time
  • Give up
  • Go for what has more potential

The artist, however, is willing to give everything he’s got to accomplish what he knows to be right.

  • It may be more tedious
  • It may require special attention, and care
  • At times his patience will be tried
  • Common sense will tell him to stop
  • But he will remain true to what he sees, something that no one else sees, and persevere until his work is done


God wants to comform us to His image
God wants to work out our nicks and imperfections.  While we might be rejected by the world, His purposes for us are much greater than our human intellects can comprehend.  Thank you, Lord for your amazing Grace and Patience.  “God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him” (Romans 8:29).

God wants to use us to help shape and form others
We also must see what others can’t see, seeing people through Christ’s eyes.  This could be a painful experience for both because we start to see another’s wounds and struggles and they are positioned to face their issues.  While we wield the “hammer and chisel,” we must do this with great care as the Sculptor has done with us.  It will take time, courage, and bulldog tenacity.  But we are strengthened knowing that God Himself is the source of strength and change, helping others to come out of the slabs for their past.

The goal?  So that when others see us, they’ll see Jesus, not the rough edges of our old lives.  “Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not ‘mine,’ but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

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