One cool, crisp morning, five putty knives sat buried beneath separate piles of forgotten and neglected objects. Each one peeked through the massive clutter to witness the frantic tossing of this thing and that. Their ears tuned in carefully to hear the woman’s words of frustration, “For heaven’s sake, I just used it last year! Where on earth … I know there has to be something around here I can use to repair this hole in my wall!”
Ah ha! The putty knives jumped to attention in hopes of finally being rescued from their feelings of uselessness. Sadly, those knives had seen this scene play out before with their hammer and screwdriver friends. The woman had a history of making do with things she could find quickly and easily. Dimes from her pocket had often turned a screw or two. Stones, and even the heel of a boot, had hammered in a few nails. After her short, unsuccessful search, the putty knives’ hopes of being rediscovered ran cold. Each one wondered what it might take to feel a warm hand wrap around them so they could once more enjoy being held.
Then it happened.
The woman and her husband finally had enough of the disorder. Every cardboard box, tool, and thingamajig landed in the driveway. They tossed out broken things and sorted useful ones. Every piece of anything received careful scrutiny. Items worth keeping acquired their own space inside newly-purchased cabinets. The frustrated couple filled drawers to overflowing with screwdrivers and hammers they didn’t realize they owned, and they wondered why it had taken them so long to sort through the mess. They had so much more than they ever realized!
As for those FIVE almost identical putty knives? Their hearts filled with hopeful anticipation as they nestled together on their nice clean shelf. All of the once-neglected, but now rediscovered tools could finally be put to good use immediately.
On another cool, crisp morning, Christians lay buried beneath the world’s pile of fear, insecurity, and loneliness. Each peeked through the clutter of disease and despair to witness the frantic tossing aside of purpose, perseverance, and peace. The world had a long history of making do with things it could find quickly and easily. It used power, prestige, and possessions as comforters. Itchy ears all-too-quickly tuned in to Satan’s slithering words of discouragement, “God doesn’t really care about you. You don’t have the courage nor the strength to make it through this! Where are all your friends now?”
The discouraged Christians soon realized their passion had turned cold, and their lights had dimmed. Sadly, they had allowed the world’s wisdom to replace godly wisdom. They trusted in things they could see and hold rather than in the One who’d made all things, the One who held those things together, and the One who had the power to redeem every evil thing for their ultimate good. Christians wondered what it might take to feel God’s hand wrap around them and once again feel the joy of being held and used for something constructive.
Then it happened.
They remembered Resurrection Day! Because Jesus walked out of His grave, they had walked out of theirs. They realized it was time to place their hand back into His!
Eagerly, each Christian started the inventory process in his own heart. Piles of sadness, anxiety, depression, self-centeredness, pride, and fear got tossed out. Underneath it all, they discovered forgotten strengths, neglected values, and relationships that had been ignored. They breathed more freely and found unique ways to be together. They made room in their renovated hearts for more love, more joy, and more peace. Exceedingly, abundantly more! With every additional measure of goodness, they felt their hope-filled passion rising to an all-time high.
The Christians decided then and there to no longer listen to the words of the world. Instead, they would listen daily to the words that came directly from God. With the Spirit’s help, they would become intentional about keeping their hearts in the right place, and they would center their lives once again around Jesus instead of themselves. More than anything, they enjoyed feeling the warmth of God’s hands as He wrapped love, tenderness, and compassion around their hearts. His hands had always held them, but they hadn’t taken the time to sit still long enough to feel them.
Now, with rejuvenated hearts, they all became putty in the Master’s hand!
“[Jesus] included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.
Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!
All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.”2 Corinthians 5:15-20, The Message