Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Gems in the Rummage Heap

Thrift stores, garage sales, rummage and yard sales — oh joy, oh rapture, their season is upon us! For years I have tried to be like the Proverbs 31 wife of noble character. She rises while it is yet night (to get to the best sales early) and provides for her family (like-new clothes for my boys, for pennies). She is not afraid of snow for her household (not when I managed to find warm boots and water-proof mittens in the right sizes). She makes linen garments and sells them (well, at least I repurposed items and sold them at a profit from the scraps and bits I picked up). Her children rise up and call her blessed (“Thanks, Mom!”); her husband also (“Have I told you how much I appreciate all you do to save money?”), and he praises her.

I have combed countless piles of despised, rejected, or outgrown cast-offs to find the right style, the most loved color, and the perfect size. My car, sans GPS, knows the route to at least ten thrift stores. I’ve recorded the addresses of clean garage sales whose owners have children a year or so older than mine so I could recognize next year’s sale.

Treasure hunting, that’s what it is. Sometimes the items don’t much resemble anything like gems. They might need a good cleaning, some minor repair, or even a redo. But when I’ve done what needs doing, they are valuable. It takes a sacrifice of time and energy. It takes a practiced eye (or at least a persistent one) to spot them. But when they’re done, they’re worth it.

There’s a song that tells a story about an old violin that comes up for auction. It looks beat-up and worthless. It’s a reject; no one wants to waste their money on it. But then a fellow walks up front. He touches the instrument reverently. He puts it to his chin, draws the bow expertly across the strings. His hands coax from it the most glorious music the people have ever heard. The touch of the master’s hand is what did it. And it took a master’s eye to spot the potential the instrument had — that it was like an uncut diamond, rough and ordinary-looking.

My Jesus has such an eye. But He doesn’t choose people who are gems — He makes gems out of the ones He chooses. Even me. He has such a loving eye. He calls me His treasured possession (Malachi 3:17). Belonging to Him is what gives me worth. And His sacrifice was not of time or energy, it was His own life-blood (1 John 1:7).

He searched for me. He found me. He rescued me. Because of His incredible love, He lifted me from the rummage heap and made me His treasured possession. He has given me a new song to sing — a song of praises to my God. Many will see, and turn to Him, and put their trust in Him (Psalm 40).

So I rise up and call Him blessed. I am grateful. He understands what it’s like to be despised and rejected. Praise the Lord!

“... all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits … who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.” Psalm 103:1-4  (NIV)

“You are the children of the Lord your God ... Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be His treasured possession.” Deuteronomy 14:1-2 (NIV)

Copyright © 2011 Robin Steinweg. Used by permission.

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