There’s furniture … and then there’s fine furniture.

Most of us can tell the difference between the mass-produced pressed wood found at IKEA and the solid oak furniture that comes from a high-end furniture store. And based on the enormous popularity of IKEA, most of us don’t care.

I don’t write this to dis IKEA (so please don’t sue me, nice Swedish people that you are), but their furniture is built for function. Sure, there is a cool factor that Millennials love about its minimalistic look, but the furniture won’t last. It’s not built for longevity; that IKEA desk you got at a great price will not be around to pass on to your grandkids.

Fine furniture is built by a different standard. And, yes, as a woodworker, I will be snobby and say it is a higher standard. Each piece is custom cut, chiseled, and planned to fit precisely with another piece. And those pieces are meant to stay together.

I love the furniture exhibits at The Henry Ford and DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum at Colonial Williamsburg.  I like to think the pieces I’ve built hit a higher standard than I find at Wal-Mart, but the quality of these museum pieces hits a standard far beyond my skill.

Most of us are content with IKEA. We need a functioning bed more than we need a piece of fine furniture. We admire the higher standard, but we buy what we can afford. (Full confession: my wife’s craft room has IKEA furniture.)

It’s OK to “settle” if you’re choosing a coffee table, but I don’t recommend it for choosing how you live your life. People choose different religions because they like the way they look or function, but they don’t last. They may “function” for awhile, but they eventually fall apart.

Jesus, the Master Carpenter, has a higher standard—and He calls us to live by that higher standard. We prefer to pick and choose the rules and religious precepts we want to follow; we want to create our own standard, because it’s easier to follow our own standard.

But Jesus calls us to a different path. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).

Jesus’ standard is higher, but it is far better. And it lasts.

Is it harder? Depends on your perspective. On our own, it is harder, but Jesus calls us to surrender to Him. By His grace, He gives us His Spirit and empowers us to live—really live.

  • “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:29-30).
  • “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

Don’t settle for any standard less than Christlikeness. You are not a piece of cheap furniture. You were created to be a beautiful life that honors the Master Craftsman.

For a printable version: click here.

This Screen-Shot-2013-06-24-at-1.41.38-PM (1)post supports the study “Jesus Corrects”  in Bible Studies for Life.