I spent this past weekend reuniting with 17 of my fraternity brothers. To best minimize stupidity, and ensure the safety of all attending, we spent it at a cabin in the mountains of Pennsylvania. The unique gifting of sarcasm in this group is unparalleled, and giving someone a hard time comes easy after knowing each other for 25 years. One of the things that always comes up when we are all together is the raggedy bunch of vehicles we all used to drive around the hills of western Pennsylvania. The best and most harrowing stories often start with, “Ok. There was like six inches of snow on the ground…”
Why were we all driving such junk cars?
The easy answer is because there’s not much money in those rusted out hills of PA, and we all made do with hand-me-downs and vehicles you could buy with summer job money. One of the cars that fit that description and got me to and from school for a short time was a 1970 Gold Plymouth Champ. I think that car may have been the only car ever made smaller than the Chevette. It was equipped with an AM radio and looked a lot like the car from Wayne’s World, except without the cool flames and licorice dispenser.
On a rare sunny day in early spring, I decided to finally wash the salt and winter grime off her only to be met with heckling from my onlooking fraternity friends. “Better use a smaller sponge!” “Careful, the salt is what’s holding on the bumper.” “Watch out! Your toy car might float away!” And, my personal favorite, “Dude! You can’t polish a turd!” I knew our group loved a good roast, so I laughed along with them, and promptly apologized to Goldie later when no one was around. That summer, I wrecked Goldie (or did she wreck me?), and she went to the scrapyard along with the jeers of my troublemaking friends.
I can’t believe that I had not thought about Goldie once in the past few weeks since we’ve been talking so much about gold. However, when I was on the airplane coming home from our reunion weekend, I read over the Gospel stories of Jesus, and Goldie came to mind. Just like that little car, the world often tells us we are less valuable the older we get. It’s often easy to agree and define ourselves by our miles rather than by the God who created us.
Jesus was an expert in finding Gold in tarnished people and giving them hope and direction.
- Jesus listens to a leper begging him to make him clean, and with a touch heals him. (Matt. 8)
- Jesus leads a deaf man away from a noisy crowd to give him the gift to finally hear it. (Mark 7)
- Jesus leans into a man violently possessed with demons and frees his body and his soul. (Luke 8)
- Jesus took the time to speak with a woman at a well carrying water and a big secret. (John 4)
- Jesus redeems a condemned man dying on a cross next to his, forever changing the redemption narrative for all of us. (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John)
The tarnish of disease, impairment, mental anguish, sexual abuse, and multiple failures, were (and are) no match for Grace from the King of the Universe.
Did you know that 10k gold tarnishes faster than 24k gold?
It actually has little to do with the gold itself, and more with the alloys bonded to it that make the gold tarnish. The more additions into the alloy, even if they are purposeful, the faster the gold will tarnish. Isn’t that so similar to life? Many of us believe that the things that have bonded to us now make us unworthy of polishing. But like gold, no matter the age or what it has been through is always of high value, and with God, any bond can be broken!
Shine brightly today because, unlike Goldie, you are not destined for the scrapyard. You have been personally freed, polished up, and are worth a high price!
In His service and at yours!