At our land we've been gathering up pallets for quite a while, our intention being to bring new life to something old, upcycle and transform.
This week, it's happened.
On a crisp November morning our old pallets were pulled apart, chopped, reassembled and sanded down. Once upon a time they were used for transporting goods from a to b, weighed down by the things laid on top of them but today they've found a new destiny. Today they have become a fresh, clean, beautifully waxed, piece of choice furniture. The old has gone and the new has come.
There is a well know verse in 2 Corinthians 5 that so often we quote - "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old is has passed away and the new has come."
Here's the whole bit of scripture -
The Ministry of Reconciliation
11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[b] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
This whole bit of passage has the subheading The Ministry of Reconciliation. As as I've read and reread the passage I feel so challenged. I've quoted this verse many a time but have I understood it fully? I don't think we can simply quote verse 17 about being a new creation without understanding the reason for which Paul is highlighting this truth.
I believe Paul is wanting to show the Corinthian church their mandate as people who are now reconciled to Father God. He explains in verse 19 that Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. In other words Christ has come to transform us and in our transformation he expects us to go out in his power, strength and authority to bring transformation to others. Paul makes this great statement in the passage saying that we are his ambassadors (v20) and in verse 21 he says that he has made us new in Christ so that we might become the righteousness of God.
That's some mandate! What a great new purpose and what a new destiny to have?
Back to our new pallet tables. Just like the old pallets we may have come downtrodden, heavy burdened, dirty, broken and feeing useless before the Father but in his love he has assigned Christ as the master craftsman of upcycling to our lives. The love of Christ may have led you to spend sometime in his workshop where you've felt a bit like you're being pulled apart, chopped, reassembled and sanded down but the master craftsman is in the process of creating something completely new, unrecognisable from the past. He's making you new so that you might become the righteousness of God, the beauty in his creation that draws others to be reconciled to the Father. The work Christ has done in you and me is the hope to a broken nation.
I'd rather be a beautiful chosen piece of furniture than an old delapidated pallet any day of the week, wouldn't you? And don't you think others would too?