I am living at my parents’ house right now. The neighborhood is pretty good, a lot of families. I guess you would call it middle-class, or working class. But there is something that stands out – sort of. The next-door neighbor has an early 80’s Buick Regal that has been planted in the same spot for, well, my best guess now is 15 years.
As you might imagine, the tires are flat, there is no front grill, one of the windows is broken out, and the inside is no better. But there’s more. See, their house is the last on the street, a dead end road that has a lot of green overgrowth at the end. So, the car sort of has begun to camouflage into the growth. Bamboo grows wildly in front of it. Tree pieces lay behind it. It is covered with years of pollen and tree life that has fallen from above over the last 15 years. You know how sometimes a government will deliberately sink an old junked ship in order to make an artificial ecosystem for sea life and divers? Well, this car is the equivalent on land.
It is junk.
Well, earlier today, a man visited my parents’ house. He works for the folks who deliver food to seniors and was delivering a meal for my father. When I went out to meet him, he asked me, “Who owns the car?” I told him it was the neighbor’s – why? “Oh, I would love to have it,” he said, brimming with excitement. Really? That?! I was caught between disbelief and joy that the ecosystem might actually disappear. “Oh, yeah. I’ve been looking for a car just like that. I refurbish older cars, and I’d love to have that one to work on it …
After he gave me his number to give to my neighbor, my brother said to me, “It’s amazing that someone saw something good in that thing.”
We may have experienced failure in our relationships or our work or in life in general. It may seem that our grill is knocked out, or our tires are flat. We may feel like we’re blending into the landscape and going nowhere meaningful. But the Lord sees us and is excited to see us. He sees something great in us. He knows what we will become when He’s done with us:
“You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go and bring forth fruit … In this is my Father glorified: that you bring forth very much fruit and become my disciples.” (Jn 15:16,8 )
If we allow the Lord to have us and to work on us, then we will become great. But …