by Deb Moken
Story has been the vehicle God used to reveal the area of ministry He had wired me for. Did I know that at the time? No. Did I recognize it when I wrote them? No. But recently I stumbled on some of my stories. They were written 10, 20 or 30 years ago and in looking back I recognize His hand in their design. Whether He was wooing me with furniture to refinish, or marveling at restored houses, retiring fashion trends, or evolving in my relationships… the way I view life has served me well as a pastor whose primary ministry is to help restore broken lives, resolve hurt-filled pasts and reconcile people to our Good, Good Father.
The house stood in abject ruin. The glory of its former days barely recognizable. Weeds had long ago overrun the gardens and yards. Scraggly unkempt fruit trees and a hardy perennial peeking through the quagmire gave testimony to the bold vision and able hands of a former owner. Broken windows and unlatched doors provided all the invitation needed to youthful curiosity seekers who possessed greater appetites for destruction and adventure than they had for honesty and integrity.
When rumors began to circulate that ‘the house’ had been sold, the common reaction was utter disbelief. Who — in their right mind — would pay the price necessary in both finance and labor to live there? “They’re either fools or visionaries,” pronounced the cynical observers. Majority opinion leaning toward the former.
The realtor had just finished adding, “SOLD” to the yard sign, when a large dump truck pulled in. Out jumped four eager-faced cleaning experts. Two days and seven trips to the land fill later, the house was stripped bare. As the dump truck prepared for it’s final trip, a pick-up pulling a trailer laden with lawn care equipment drove in, quickly followed by a car full of professional house-cleaners. The landscapers, using special mowers designed to chew through thick stocked weeds, made short work of the overgrown lot. Two days after the cleaners came they left. Day five ushered in the carpenters and painters, day seven the carpet and flooring men.
No cynic could stand against the miraculous transformation.
How often are lives sadly mirrored in the decrepit decay of that house? Neglected and visionless existence, undefined boundaries, and under-defined purpose destroying the viability of life — easy prey for vandals bent on violation and destruction. That’s the reason Christ came and purchased, through his death, human lives. In so doing provided for us, keys to the kingdom of a transformed and abundant life. He is the visionary who sees beyond the weeds, dirt and filth and if given free reign, will orchestrate the workers necessary to restore and reconcile lives. Jesus the Lord then boldly and unashamedly moves in and begins the lifelong task of making human lives ‘showplaces’ of His divine power, presence and glory.