Created

Precision counts

Making of a masterpiece…sort of

About a year ago I was talking with one of my cousins about what he was doing those days. Somehow we got on the topic of hobbies and what hobby he was investing the most time in recently. We discussed a couple different things until he brought up something that caught my attention: precision spinning tops. These are not your ten cents spinning tops that you get at the arcade though, no, these are works of art in their own right. These tops will spin for upwards of fifteen minutes and some go even longer then that. I asked my cousin what it cost to acquire such a precisely made piece of art. He kind of chuckled and told me that most of these tops go for a few hundred dollars each. My mouth fell agape and I thought, “How in the world can someone justify spending that much on what is the equivalent of the adult version of what you owned as a child?”. I was hooked though. I wanted to learn more about these simple yet elegant pieces of precision machining. 
I spent hours upon hours researching these fascinating snipping tops to see what it would take to make one for myself. My father had taught me the skills required to make such a work of art many years ago, but I did not realize until a few days after me and my cousin had that conversation that I had the resources at my disposal to create one of these beautiful masterpieces. After realizing this, I had a moment of joy and excitement because I knew the journey that lay before me. I was going to make one of these tops. 

The hard work

I got the rusty piece of steel that I needed and put it into the lathe to turn it into what I had envisioned. Turning on the lathe for the first time, I get the feeling of excitement I get every time that I start to create something one of a kind. The tool on the lathe starts cutting into the steels rusty surface and slowly starts to reveal the shiny inner beauty of this cast aside chunk of steel. In the first hour of working on the steel I had to remove all of the surface defects to get down to what was a workable material that would be well balanced. You see, the most important aspect of a precision top is that it be perfectly balanced. Once I had achieved the shiny smooth surface that I was seeking, I began to to form the general shape of the top.
It was about four hours after starting that I was able to start to see the general shape of what I was trying to make. I was starting to feel the strain on my back from standing in the same spot for so long, but after each pass of the tool on the steel, I was one step closer to my top taking its final form. The excitement grew with each pass of the tool. I was careful not to accidentally move the tool into the steel to quickly and risk damaging the work I had done up to this point. The first part of the top that I put the most time into was the point on which the top would spin. This was not a simple task. I was using both of my hands to adjust different nobs to ensure the proper angle was made on the bottom spinning surface. This required every ounce of my focus for the next two and half hours. After those two and a half hours was over, I was grinning ear to ear as I gazed upon the beautiful point that I had made on the bottom of my top. 
After admiring my work for a couple minutes and taking a much needed time to stretch, I got back in the zone and started back to forming the stem of the top. I spent the next hour and a half slowly cutting down the steel to the thickness I desired. By the end of the hour and half I had had all I could take of standing in one spot for the day. I went to bed restless that night knowing that I was mere hours away from finishing my work of art. 
When I awoke, I ate some semblance of a breakfast and went straight back to work. Only ten minutes into working, I messed up. The top fell out of the lathe and got dinged up, not beyond repair though. After another twenty minutes, disaster strikes again. I was frustrated at myself at this point, but I was determined to finish this top and call it my own! After a couple more hours of being very very careful, I was over the moon with my finished top in hand!! It was not as perfect as I wanted it to be, but it was beautiful to me.

The application

Much like a precision top takes a long time to make and a lot of focus to ensure it spins well; God created you perfectly and took the time to shape you into a one of a kind masterpiece. I look at the rusty chunk of steel in my story as us before we accept Christ. God starts His work on our lives by stripping away the rusty, dirty surface. This isn’t a pretty process! It involves getting rid of the pits and uneven rusty surface to get down to the beautiful core that God placed inside of us. When I think of this, I think of God allowing us to go through trials in our lives that shape us into something more beautiful than we were in the first place. 
Even though God will never be done shaping us into something more precise and beautiful, He looks upon us every minute of every day with love because of how beautiful He created us. He holds us in His hands and is over the moon about His creation! Just like I looked upon my top with great joy. Even with its imperfections, I still loved it all the same. Just like God loves us even after we mess up our shiny surface that He formed uniquely on each one of us. 
When my top fell off of the lathe, I was not giving up on it! I wanted to keep working on it and form it to be what I saw in that raw chunk of steel. Similarly, God doesn’t give up on us even when we get dinged up. He wants to refine us into what He has planned for us. He will have to cut away parts of us to get to the beauty that is inside, but in the end, the value that God has placed in us through His work gives us more value than all of the earth. He loves each of us that much!

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