Restore

Published on Aug 20th, 2014 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Restore

Restore

The other day I was working on my 1953 Farmall Cub tractor that I recently purchased from a friend at church.  My father-in-law has done all of the mechanical work and has been teaching me how to do a quick, frame on, paint job.  As I was sanding the front of the tractor to get it ready to paint I was thinking about how a few years ago I had purchased a 1983 Honda Magna motorcycle.  The motorcycle was in good shape but needed a good deal of cleaning.  If I rubbed and rubbed and rubbed I could take off the clouded clear coat and the bike would shine.  I actually found it very relaxing as I slowly saw the bike come back to its former beauty.  The bike is long gone and in its place is the Farmall tractor.  Not quite as fast but probably a bit safer to ride.  What began to run through my mind as I was sanding was how I wasn’t getting the same joy from restoring the tractor that I used to get from the bike. As I thought about it some more (sanding doesn’t take too many brain cells) I began to realize that when I worked on the bike I was taking something ugly and making it beautiful and shiny. Working on the tractor meant I had to sand it and make it ugly before I could paint it and make it all shiny again.

James 5:19, 20 speaks of restoring someone who has wandered away.  Working with brothers and sisters who have wandered away from the truth always takes persistence and is often messy.  Like most people I enjoy the times when God uses us to be part of the ministry of cleaning off some of the rough areas of their lives.  As those areas begin to drop away from their lives we see the bright light of God’s presence shining from their lives.  We see his righteousness in their lives and the beauty that was lost in the fall of man is slightly restored.  It is an exciting time of ministry.

There are other times, though, that are much messier.  These times of sanding rather than simply cleaning off some rough areas are much more difficult.  Ingrained sinful habits that we have carried for years, or even from birth, are being changed for the glory of God.  That process can be painful and unsettling.  We often find ourselves stumbling and bumbling as new heart attitudes begin to shine through into our actions.  We become a mixture of old behavior (that we now see as wrong and ungodly) and new behavior that God is making into new habits.  When you help someone through that process there are times of ugliness and frustration while we wait for transformation.  The process is difficult and often not immediately rewarding.  It is difficult and if we are not careful we will tend to shy away from helping in the process.  If we give in to that hesitancy we will miss out on some very special blessings from God.

I know that some folks, when looking for a toy, stay away from bikes that are 30 years old or tractors that are 60 years old, and that may be wise.  Who wants a toy that requires work?  But we can’t have that same mentality with people.  We can’t simply befriend those people who seem to have everything together.  We need to choose to get involved with those who are wandering from their Creator.  We need to be willing to be used by God as part of the process of bringing them back to the place of peace and rest.  Their lives may be messy and full of drama but that is what wandering from God looks like.  We cannot run from those kinds of people but must seek them out and ask God to use us in his ministry of restoration.

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