2011-03-24 - Useless
Originally Published 2003-04-24
John 8:10-11 And straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" 11 And she said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more." (NAS)
The charger for my cell phone died. Fortunately, I had a spare charger unit and switched to it. I looked at the old one and wondered briefly if it could be fixed. It seemed somehow to be a waste to just toss it in the garbage. But the parts and the effort to fix it would probably be far more expensive than the cost of a new charger. The simple conclusion is that the old unit was indeed useless and beyond reasonable repair.
I was struck by a thought. I'm glad Jesus didn't see me that way. I was surely broken. I too was damaged well beyond my worth, and beyond my ability to be fixed. Sin had removed any value or worth I had on my own. By the definition I had just used to evaluate the cell phone charger I was ready for the bin. I was something to be left on the side of the road and replaced.
But God looked down the years of time from eternity past and saw something worth saving, worth putting the effort into to reclaim. The heart had to be replaced. It was black with sin; ruined and crushed by the cares of this world. The tattered cloth of life was carefully removed and replaced with the strong white linen of His own life. There were still scratches and marks on the body. But those would have to stay for now. They will eventually be replaced as well, when this mortal flesh puts on immortality. The perfect state of restoration would not be achieved until then a little farther down the line of time.
Would there be more scars and scratches by that time? Almost certainly. There would be more stumbles and missteps along the years. But some of these marks would begin to disappear into wear marks like a favorite pen or musical instrument. I have seen a pen with a wooden body with visible groves worn into the body from use. The owner would never have traded that pen away. It was a favored tool. The marks were associated with memories, hard lessons and victories that were irreplaceable.
This is a picture of who we as Christians would like to become. But there is no way to get from the beginning to the end without some stumbles and some pain. A sculptor must literally break away stone to create a work of art. A surgeon must cut into his patients to heal them. There is a deconstructive phase and a constructive phase that we must go through. The biographies of people like D.L. Moody and Billy Graham reveal their humanity. In many ways their lives are not so different than ours. These men and others like them are far from what I would call useless in any way. But keep in mind the process than these men have gone through to become the persons we see today. Look for the chisel marks and the brushstrokes and give credit to the Artist that worked the stone and canvas and take heart. Jesus did not condemn the woman, and loves you just as much and stands ready to forgive.
Col 1:21-23 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach-- 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. (NAS)
Grace & Peace,