October 17, 2018
I have a travel companion. No matter where I travel, it comes with me. It is a piece of wood, about two feet in length, 2 inches wide and a ¼ inch thick. It’s been sanded smooth, and has been hand painted. I purchased it at a market in the Philippines over a decade ago. I knew as soon as I saw it, that I had to have it. This little piece of wood has often preserved my sanity. It has been a great comfort and has probably saved me from dislocating my shoulder on a number of occasions. It is a remarkable companion. What is it? It is my back scratcher.
I was reflecting on the role of my back scratcher recently, and it occurred to me that my little companion is a wonderful metaphor of our lives. Too small to be used in furniture or in construction, for many, good for nothing but to be thrown into the fire. Somewhere in the Philippines an artisan found this little piece of wood, and saw potential in it. After some tender care and artistic flare, it was placed in the market where I found it. What was once thought to be useless, has found a place of great function in my life.
Most of us were just like that back scratcher; we viewed ourselves as too small, too rough, or too insignificant for any real purpose, then we fell into the hands of the master. Jesus has taken what the world deems as useless, and worthy of discard and has fashioned something useful, even beautiful from it.
In 1Cor. 12 verse 12 and following, Paul speaks about the church and compares us to the human body. He explains how one part of the body, the hand for example, cannot say to another part that because they too are not a hand, they have no place in the body. Paul explains that every part is needed and in fact those parts which seem less presentable, we treat with special honour. Paul makes a great case for the value of every believer, no matter who they are, or where they have come from.
Many people feel unworthy to be used by God, either because of who they are, or because of what they have done. This is a lie from the enemy. The truth is, God made us who we are, so we cannot be disqualified because of pedigree. God’s Kingdom operates by grace, so we cannot be disqualified because of what we have done. This means that no matter who we are or what we have done in the past, God can still use us for his glory and the advancement of His Kingdom. For sure, some training may be required, and some learning may be needed, to improve our ability to serve Him, but we apply ourselves to leaning because we are already loved and accepted, not to be loved or accepted.
It is never too late to be used by God. No matter how long the enemy has kept you on the side lines, you can get off the bench and onto the field today. There is always room for more in the Kingdom of God’s marvellous grace.