I need to throw some things away! I own things I haven’t used for years and it is time to dispose of them. There are things I should have thrown away immediately, but instead carried them to the garage or the shed just in case I might do something with them. I have clothes in my wardrobe that need to be bagged up and taken to goodwill. I really do need to get better at throwing things away.
The question is why do I hang on to stuff? I obviously see some value in it. Maybe I am remembering how much it originally cost (ask me someday about my first computer). Maybe it has some sentimental value to me – reminding me of a good time or a special friend. Perhaps the reason for keeping much of it is that I hope it will one day be valuable to me again.
There is a special joy that comes from taking something broken and giving it new life. Just a few weeks ago Christy and I gave new life to an old dresser. It was literally falling apart. The drawers were broken, The rails that they sat on were worn down. The finish was dark and cracked. It was given to us a few years ago and we tried to pass it on and no one else wanted it. We needed a stand for our TV, so Christy stripped the finish off the old dresser and I rebuilt the drawers and replaced the wood in the frame that was worn. We added a shelf where one of the drawers had been for our Dvd player and sound equipment. We refinished the wood and cleaned up the brass hardware. We now have the joy of having a useful, beautiful piece of furniture that was literally someone else’s trash.
Many of you may know that one of my joys is photography. I still enjoy using film cameras and working in my darkroom. I have taken several old cameras which no longer functioned and I was able to repair them and then use them. There is a certain satisfaction that comes from taking something that is broken and discarded and restoring it to usefulness. To be able to create something beautiful with something that was rejected by others is a great feeling.
I can’t help but think that our Lord experiences that kind of joy when He gives us new life. As a sinner, I was ugly and useless to Him. I had no worth or value and truly deserved to be destroyed. Even my good qualities were not really good. In Isaiah 64:6 we read “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” But He chose to save us from destruction and gave us a new life and purpose. He did that for us, but also for Himself – “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phi 2:13 ESV) Through faith in what Christ has done for us, we not only have new life – we bring Him joy!