Friday, October 23, 2009


I tried my hand at refinishing a few months ago. Some friends of ours had moved into a new house and were getting rid of some old furniture. They asked us to take a look at their garage to see if there was anything we could use. A quick peek showed an old set of nightstands and a dresser. They were painted white and chipped and scratched from long time use. However, they looked pretty sturdy and I imagined that with a bit of sanding and paint we could use them for a bedroom. So, my husband (probably a bit skeptical about the whole idea...) and his friend loaded them into our van and we made our way home - me, with visions of a gleaming, new bedroom set in my head, my husband, with thoughts of how long it would be gathering dust in our garage.

The vision stayed with me and a couple of weeks later, armed with paint thinner, scrapers, sandpaper, brushes and paint - I went to work. My ever-supportive better-half watched the kiddies while I scraped and sanded and painted in the hot sun. A few hours later, we had a new dresser and two new night stands for our room. What was one person's junk - had become my treasure. What was once useless had become useful.

I read the book of Philemon today. It's a tiny book of the Bible, tucked between Titus and Hebrews. Only one chapter and twenty-five verses. It's a letter from Paul to a friend, Philemon. Paul is being imprisoned for teaching about Jesus and has somehow befriended a man who's name is Onesimus. Onesimus was apparently a servant of Philemon who had not the best reputation with his boss. In fact, Paul puts it this way; "I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you..." (10-11). "Useless" - ever feel that way? Kind of like an old set of dressers, dented and scratched by life and put to the side, no place for you anymore. Useless.

There's hope. Paul wasn't finished his letter. "Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and me...He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord"(11, 16b). Some change had happened inside of Onesimus and I have a feeling it had to do with him becoming "a brother in the Lord." A transformation had taken place and a life that seemed to be going nowhere took on new hope and meaning and usefulness!

Perhaps you feel that your life has no purpose anymore or maybe you see a family member or friend walking a road that seems headed to nowhere - don't give up hope. Jesus takes lives that have been deemed lost and hopeless and can transform them into lives of beauty and purpose. What others thought useless becomes what God could see for them all along...usefulness.


Kendel said...

I'm sure they turned out great!!
Your just like me! I can't pass up a good piece of furniature that just needs a little TLC! :D
Great post! Your so good at object lessons! :D

Anonymous said...

It may not feel good to be sanded, scraped and refined but the end result is exactly what is intended!! God knows best!!


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