The Parable of the Sculptor and the Saboteur
The Kingdom of God is like a great sculptor who hammered and chiseled at a large stone. The sculptor alone knew the image that was contained within the stone and therefore knew how to release the image by eliminating unnecessary pieces of the stone to reveal the image. Day after day the sculptor chipped away at the stone and eventually some semblance of an image began to emerge.
One night, when the sculptor was away, a saboteur approached the stone with hammer and chisel in hand. The saboteur neither knew the image within the stone nor cared whether there was an inherent image. Instead, the saboteur began to chip away at the stone in some other way. Some of the chisels were random and harsh, damaging the image while some of the hits with the hammer were intentionally damaging. Still other efforts of the saboteur were carefully crafted attempts to make the inherent image in the stone into something that the stone was never intended to be, something much less.
“This is your real image,” the saboteur said to the stone, “this is what you were really meant to be.”
When the great sculptor returned to see that the stone had been sabotaged, never once did the thought of destroying the stone come to mind. Rather, the sculptor loved the stone so much that the damage done inspired an even more creative impulse in the great sculptor.
“I will take each wrong hit and make it right again,” the great sculptor said, “for so long as there is stone the image remains within it.”
When it came time for the great sculptor to reveal the finished sculpture to all the world, the saboteur was in the audience. A sheet covered the sculpture with everyone waiting in anticipation to see what the final work of the great sculptor would be. The saboteur sat smug and eager to humiliate the great sculptor. Yet, when the sheet was pulled down and the sculpture revealed, the crowd cheered in great joy as this sculpture was even more beautiful and glorious than they could have imagined.
“I can see myself in this,” said one person.
“It is like the sculptor knows me,” said another.
The sculpture was the exact representation of the inherent image imagined by the sculptor all along, with each mark made by the saboteur creatively and masterfully worked into the final product as though it had been anticipated all along. Every jagged chip crafted into a clever angle; every ugly mark made beautiful.
The saboteur sat shocked and humiliated, whispering in disbelief, “That’s impossible. I made irreparable damage. I destroyed that stone.”
“My chisel of redemption,” said the sculptor, “is sharper than my chisel of creation.”