Friday, August 8, 2014

Trash or Treasure? ........................ Parables 154

Last week, Simon my editor told me he’d had a lousy morning. He’d been tracing a special vintage motorcycle, one he wanted to restore. As the trail narrowed, anticipation grew. I could see his vision of what a little love and a lot of elbow grease could do with that particular bike. But when he finally found the most recent owner, he received the bad news; the bike had been taken to the dump over a year ago.

Can you identify? He must have felt just as we would if a precious possession had been dropped off a cliff. He could see it disappearing out of his grasp and there was absolutely nothing he could do about it.

I felt Simon’s disappointment with him. Besides, there’s a unique joy in restoring something back to new condition. And instead of adding to the pollution in the environment, restorers make meaningful contributions.

Later in the day, I thought about this throwaway generation that we live in. While some would feel repulsion at the thought, a few trips to the local trash bin has furnished a home for some who otherwise may never get beyond using cardboard boxes.

Cars, appliances, clothes, you name it, are not always worthless before they are treated that way. But affluence and easy-come, easy go makes the mounds of throwaways higher and higher.

Unfortunately, human lives sometimes are tossed aside too. Sometimes that life is an unwanted baby, or it could be a mentally or physically handicapped person. It might be a “fallen women” or a man who fell into the gutter somewhere and can’t get out.

Unfortunately, the human trash heap includes anyone that other people feel have no value, no purpose, or no potential. They are the ones that many of us tend to put on our “avoid this creature” list.

I wonder how God feels about lives that are tossed in the garbage. Does He feel their rejection? Of course He does. He has been rejected. Does He think about them the same way society often does? Not at all!

The good news is that God is in the restoration business. He sent Jesus Christ to “seek and to save that which was lost” … or tossed. That includes those whom no one else wants or will have anything to do with. In Jesus’ day, it was the prostitutes, the publicans (“traitorous” Jewish tax collectors working for Rome) and an assorted group of people simply called “sinners.”

Jesus said He came to seek these rejects, and when He ‘‘found” them, He loved them. The Bible says He was ‘‘the friend of sinners,” yet He did more than eat and drink with them. His saving power restored any who placed their faith in Him. They were given peace, joy, and the sure hope of eternal life, as well as a useful and purposeful life here on earth for God.

Ephesians 2:10 says that those who trust in Christ are “His workmanship, created in Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

When Simon finds an old motorcycle, he carefully cleans and restores each piece, remaking parts if necessary. Then he puts the whole bike back together with infinite care. The engine is tuned to purr-fection, the leather polished, and the paint bright and shiny. No one would even know that this sleek machine was once a cast-off, even if it came from a trash heap.

Jesus says. “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are gone, the new has come” ...that (sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, prostitutes, homosexual offenders, thieves, those guilty of greed, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers) is “what some of you were, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

In other words, unlike Simon’s latest disappointment, the human trash heap does not have to be the end. The Lord can do the job beautifully, no matter who has tossed us aside, and no matter what condition He finds us.

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