Years ago I found a wooden podium next to the dumpster at the Middle School we rent for our church services. It was used up, broken and ready to retire to the dump. Without hesitation I grabbed it and put it in the church van with the idea to revitalize and use it back at our office.
One of my assistants was a carpenter and I asked him to fix it, but it never happened. I think he didn’t have a vision for it. I asked a man in the church who I knew had skills and he said he would do it but he never did. He must have thought it was a lost cause and not worth the bother. So it ended up in the attic of our office building.
A while later I remembered the broken podium and I said to myself I can repair it. So I brought it to my house. At the lumber store I bought some wood to trim the corners and a piece of plywood to put a new bottom on it. I sanded off the old stain, then cut the trim and nailed it. I even made a cross out of some one inch pieces of flat pine. I found some plastic wheels so we could roll it around. After a few coats of stain I varnished it and brought it back to the church office. The podium was reborn as a Christian preacher’s pulpit.
Out of the Closet
It still didn’t get used much and it was sometimes in the way. It often ended up in the storage closet.
One day I noticed that my church pulpit, the one that was made by a very skilled carpenter, had some severe damage. It must have gotten banged up while it was being moved to our trailer at the end of a Sunday service. Did I mention we have a mobile church that meets in a school?
We had to temporarily retire it. I tried to use a music stand, a small table and a tall table as a pulpit but nothing seemed to be just right. After about five weeks I thought “Why don’t I use the pulpit in the Church office?” Since then we’ve been using it in church. The wheels squeak a bit, but over all it serves the purpose. It holds my Bible and notes just fine. This podium that was a day away from the trash heap and then languished for several years in the attic now had a new mission; a holy purpose.
Worthless to Invaluable
In the letter to Philemon, Paul describes Philemon’s runaway slave Onesimus as unprofitable. He was not a good slave. He didn’t do for Philemon what he was supposed to and he fled to Paul in Rome. Paul, in prison, led Onesimus to the saving knowledge of Jesus.He then sent him back to his owner and told Philemon to treat him right because he was not just a slave but now a brother in Christ. Philemon was to receive him as a such. Paul even said that if he owes you anything, he, Paul, would pay it.
Onesimus was taken from the trash heap. He was useless to his master; broken because of his situation, but now he was more than refurbished, he was made new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says it like this, “Therefore if anyone be in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things become new.” He was now an invaluable member of the body of Christ.
Religion Can’t Do It
We were in the dumpster of sin before we knew Christ. People gave up on us and we may even have counted ourselves out. Religion tried to refurbish us. It strove to clean us up but there is no cleaning something that is dead. Ephesians 2:1 says we “were dead in trespasses and sin.” Religion to a dead man is like putting lipstick on a corpse. It might look better, but it’s still expired. Morality cannot revive, it cannot change, it cannot be fruitful. Religion can only give the appearance of life. Jesus makes us alive! He gives us new life. In Him we are born again. We are not just re-purposed. We are brand new!
Remember you have a new life in Christ. Live as free women and men who are not tied down to a list of rules and regulations. According to Galatians 5:1, that is a tangled web of slavery.
You are new, fresh, children of God, living with all the privileges of your Father’s mercy and grace. You might feel like you are not being used right now; that you aren’t needed. Be patient. Be faithful. Be a follower. The day will come when you see your purpose, then a door will open and God will reveal the plan of His new creation in you.