Our culture tends to discard broken things, replacing them with “upgrades” rather than repairing the faulty pieces. But our Heavenly Father is all about fixing that which is broken, bringing restoration to the original and its intended purpose. It is definitely easier to replace rather than repair, and many people do like shiny new and improved things, but then they miss out on something real with unique character and a specific value, in trade for convenience, ease and comfort.
It’s like the difference between listening to records on a HiFi system versus an MP3 in some ear buds. Sure the MP3 can go anywhere and you can listen to all of your music with ease but in the analog-to-digital-back-to-analog exchange, pieces of the “music” are lost. Though the HiFi can’t be taken anywhere there is a fullness and clarity to the music that can’t be found anywhere else. The value is not necessarily in the music itself but rather the fidelity which is imposed, or not, by the chosen method of playback.
I have a guitar that I bought on eBay rather inexpensively because its neck was broken, it was snapped completely off. It is a vintage Epiphone Riviera and a somewhat unique one at that since it has full-size humbucker pickups rather than the standard mini-buckers. Many musicians would just go buy a new guitar, but I saw the value in this particular one because it is identical to the much more expensive Gibson 335. The wood, shape and configuration are all the same on this particular guitar, it had all the right qualities. So I set about repairing the neck, being careful to put it back together straight and aligned. While I was at it I decided to strip the whole thing down and refinish it, then upgrade the electronics, tuners and hardware with all the best parts. Once completed this guitar will be as good as any Gibson 335 you will find in a store. However, no one will have one like mine; it is unique and has an amazing story of restoration! The music it will make is unique to it because I restored it specifically. Any other guitar will be different and therefore not impose the same “fidelity” on the resulting sounds.
I went to a wedding the other day and saw, literally hundreds, of people with whom I used to attend church and I wondered; what if the church were to see people the way I have described above? I wonder if instead of seeing the faults in people if we saw the potential value in them specifically. I’m not saying people in general, but the specific people we know and interact with every day. The people that have been a part of our churches for many years; what if they became resources for God’s Kingdom other than for the money they can pay in tithes? What if leaders actually saw the value in those they lead and developed them to be who they were created to be, to bring out the value in each one rather than simply seeking people who already possess the qualities they need. Sure that is easier, but they miss the “fidelity” that only those people can offer the Kingdom. Maybe the church is declining in its current form because we have not been good stewards of our human resources? I wonder what God thinks of the way we replace people like they were guitars with a broken neck, rather than seeking to repair the faults and reveal the value of fidelity that only those hearts and relationships can impose on our lives, on His Kingdom?