Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Thing Restored

I spent some time today completing a task that I had not gotten around to for quite awhile.  Last summer a severe hailstorm came through our area and everyone in a swath a couple miles wide and several miles long got new roofing on everything on the property.  When my mother had the old farm shop roof replaced she did not have the roofing crew reinstall the weather vane my Dad had put up almost two decades before.  For 15 or so years before he died this vane had faithfully performed its purpose of pointing into the wind.  She gave it to me for me to put on my barn.

This old plastic weather vane is not an antique, not in good shape, and on its own has no real value. Parts had been broken and repairs made in a fashion typical of a man who grew up during the Great Depression.  A portion of the broken mast had been repaired with a hose clamp and section of hose recovered from who-knows-what.  The broken base had simply had another nail added in a place that was not intended to have one.  Through all this the vane had stood its ground on the shop roof and reliably pointed into the wind for many years.  It had been my Dad's, and now it is mine.  It is valuable now not because of what it is, but because of whose it was.

After some pondering and looking around my little barn I found an old license plate, a scrap of rubber matting, and a handful of nuts and bolts.  I then set out making repairs.  In a fashion that demonstrates that the 'apple doesn't fall far from the tree', I drilled some holes in the base, bolted the base to a properly formed discarded license plate through the rubber mat, and nailed the whole thing to the roof.  There it stands, tall and straight once again, pointing true for all who take the time to look.

There are a lot a parallels to me in that old weather vane.

Like that old broken vane, I have no lasting value on my own.  I am starting to 'show my age', I am broken, I am dirty, and left to myself in that state I can't do that which I am created to do.  I know with certainty, however, that I will not be counted as a worthless thing and be cast away.

Rom. 5:8 (NIV) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

I am loved - cherished - by my Father in Heaven.  I am precious because I am His.  In spite of my brokenness, what I cannot do, what I have or have not done, or how little worth the rest of the world sees in me.  He is my Heavenly Father and He loves me no matter my condition.

I did not leave Dad's old weather vane broken and sitting on a bench in the barn.  Like that old vane,  because God loves me, He will not leave me in a damaged condition either.
I Pet.5:10 (NIV) After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

Because I have given myself to Him, He will restore me.  He will make me whole and useful again.   My broken things will be made new and my dirty things will be made clean.  I will, once again, be fit to do that which I have created to do.

And like that vane, what I was created to do is a pretty simple thing.  That weather vane was created to point.  Specifically, it was created to point into the wind.  It does not make the wind, it does not choose the direction from which the wind will blow nor how hard or gentle will be the breeze.  I was created to point to Jesus.  Not to be Jesus, or determine how He will interact with His creation, nor choose how easy or difficult will be the times.  I am simply created to point toward Him, and in His love He has restored me and equipped me to that purpose.

 Matt. 28:18 (NIV) And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Whenever I see that old weather vane on my barn, I will remember my Dad and the legacy of Godliness he left for me.  And I will remember my Heavenly Father and His saving grace that restored me to His purpose.

Thanks, Mom.  Once again, I am blessed.

Col. 1:9-12,


Monday, October 5, 2015

What will you choose?

I was home from the day job for a week of vacation two weeks ago.  As I ventured out early Wednesday I was blessed with the most perfect morning.  The sun was steadily making its way up into a clear blue sky.  It was cool, crisp and still.  The only things to be heard were the chickens, wild birds, and the cattle in the pasture just to the north.  As I walked quietly around the property, not wanting to disturb the almost sacred peace, I snapped a few pictures.  Below is one I knew I would be sharing.

Like most photographs, the image captures the scene but not the moment. There were a hundred childhood memories to be explored as I looked out over the fields and fences I had worked from my earliest memories on.  There was a feeling of continuity:  My father had once stood on this land right where I was, as had my grandfather, and many others before him.  There was a feeling of humility:  Like my father and grandfather, and all those others I was now entrusted with the stewardship of this small bit of land for a season. There was a connection to God as I stood and considered the re-creation of a new day.  I was blessed, I had a whole lot to be thankful for, and I knew it.  In that moment, God spoke to me from dozens of passages from His Word.  In that moment I was bathed in His Goodness.  In that moment I chose to accept the blessing that God had prepared for me that morning.

But it could have been different. I could have chosen differently.   It was a beautiful morning, but it was down-right chilly.  And no matter how nice it was right then, I knew I was going to spend a good part of the day cramming my 5' 10" now-less-than-lean-and-mean frame into a bathroom vanity cabinet to change a corroded drain and faucet.  The lush and pristine pasture at my feet?  That's a portion of my back yard that, through a series of minor misfortunes, had never been mowed all summer.  Not once.  Some of those trees off to the left are in the fence line and really should be taken down.  One more thing in an endless series of tasks that didn't get done last year and won't get done this year.  Had I chosen, at that moment, to focus on negatives I would have missed the simple, yet amazing, moment that was placed there for me to experience.
Ecc. 5:18 (NIV) Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot. 19Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. 20 He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.

I was able to choose rightly at that moment because seeing the gift for what it was, was in itself, a gift from God.  As I chose to take that moment to listen, to "Be still and know that He is God",  He chose to honor that moment with a gift: "Gladness of heart".

Every one of us encounters moments like these.  Perhaps not everyday, but perhaps also more often than we realize.  I encourage you stop and grasp them as they come along, and to cherish the blessing He will provide as you take the time to be still and honor Him.

I am blessed...  and so are you,

Col. 1:9-12