There is a lot of interest and energy lately around the concept of repurposing. I confess that I watch a lot of home improvement shows and they are always repurposing old crates into rustic coffee tables or making bookshelves out of old school lockers, and things like that. In the art world, there are many artists who create interesting art pieces from old-fashioned kitchen utensils, tins, banks and toys found at flea markets or antique stores.
The concept of repurposing came to my mind recently when read again the story in Scripture of the conversion of St. Paul. Here was a man was zealous in his persecution of Christians. But God repurposed this man’s zealousness to promote the Christian message instead. The story of the repurposing of Saul to Paul makes us realize that God can do dramatic things with what is put before him. Like a craftsperson at a workbench with various pieces laid out, God can create something beautiful and unexpected from the most random of things.
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I recently read the book Everybody Matters, in which the authors, Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia, extol the virtues of a new kind of business culture taking hold in more and more pockets of our corporate world today. It is “a culture that puts people first and where true success is measured by the way we touch the lives of people” and a culture in which “all team members can realize their gifts, share those gifts, and go home each day fulfilled” (Everybody Matters, p. 12).
“Everybody matters” is a principle that can be applied to the church as well, of course. It is a principle that should define our mission statements and be at the heart of our strategic planning as a people of God.
We need to cheer everyone on.
I am reminded of the description St. Paul gives of the Body of Christ when he says, in 1 Corinthians 12:14-20:
The body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
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I was recently part of a Christmas choir cantata at my church. We met on Wednesday nights for 6 weeks and performed with a full orchestra on the Sunday before Christmas. While I was singing in the cantata on the actual day of the performance, I got the sense that I was not really being heard and/or seen since I was a bass in the very last row in the back, behind all the other singers and instrumentalists. I sang my part as well as I could but thought no one really noticed or cared.
Then the cover of my church newsletter came out and there I was, front and center, right in the middle for all to see singing my heart out!
I am the one in the middle in the back row.
The photo reminds me that so much of what we do can be seen and heard and recognized by others even if we do not think any of that is happening. We need to always keep ourselves aware of how we Continue reading →