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Jan. 25, 2023

Fixer Upper

Fixer Upper

Do you remember the joy and excitement when you bought your first car or house?  Maybe you felt some stress and anxiety about signing your name to that contract to purchase it, but knew that was the one you wanted.

Then that feeling you had when the first payment was due and it wasn’t so exciting as you made the payment.

What was your feeling when it came time for the needed maintenance on the car of having the oil changed, new tires or regular service done?

How did you feel when the A/C went out in the house or you needed to have the leak in the roof fixed?

Over time the newness and excitement wore off and you felt at times that it was a hassle and hard work to maintain the upkeep of the house or vehicle.

In Mark chapter 4 verses 14-20 it is about Jesus explaining the parable of the Sower. It says, “The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. 18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

When you go back and look at verses 16 and 17, it talks about the seed sown on rocky ground how as a believer they immediately received it, but as trials and persecution arose they stumbled and gave up.

Dr. Cole said “it is harder to maintain than it is to obtain.”

How true is that in each of our lives? It felt easy in some sense when purchasing that new car or home; but as time went, the maintenance and upkeep began to feel like a hassle.

It is the same way in relationships. When you started dating your wife, it was exciting and you didn’t feel stressed about the amount of time and money you spent. Then you got married and you were still full of excitement during that honeymoon period for about the first couple of years, but then things began to settle down in your daily routine. Going to work, bills and expenses, and slowly learning things about each other that you didn’t know about them when you were dating. Then came those times of arguments and disagreements and you began to see how it was more difficult now in maintaining the relationship compared to how you obtained her love and affection for you when you were dating.

When you look back in the Old Testament, God gave Mose instructions on what the responsibilities of the priest were. God told him of how each priest had a role and that their duties included preparing the temple daily, offering the daily sacrifices along with the sacrifices for the four festivals and then for the yearly sacrifice that the High Priest would bring before God and the Mercy Seat.

However, over time we read later on in other books of the Old Testament how prophets instructed the people to return to Jerusalem and restore the Temple to its former glory. 

To the priest and the rest of Israel, it became a struggle to maintain the temple and their relationship with God. 

Only when they could no longer deal with the persecution would they cry out to God for help.

When you look back at Mark chapter 4, that was what Jesus was talking about, the seed being planted on the rocky ground. That relationship is exciting and full of joy, but as time goes by, and you begin to deal with the stresses and pressure of life,  Satan comes and makes you feel it is easier to give up and quit on that marriage or relationship.

In Matthew 25, verse 14-30, Jesus talks about the servants and the talents. He tells about the owner going on a trip, but before he leaves he calls his servants. The first one he gave 5 talents, the second he gave two and the third he gave one talent. 

After a time the master returned and asked each servant what they had done with their talents. The first stated that he had worked and brought in 5 more talents. The second servant said that he had gained two additional talents; but the third servant told the master that he was fearful of what the master would do to him if he had wasted the one talent given him and decided to bury and hide it. The master was upset and said that he would rather see the servant try and fail or even invest it to gain interest rather than to hide it.

It was easy for each of the servants to obtain the talents from their master, but it took work to maintain and even increase what they had been given.

The same goes for each of us. 

Looking back, it was easy when you gave your heart and life to Christ. The joy and excitement when He was blessing, moving and working in your life. But, over time you settled into that comfort zone in that relationship and maybe began to take things for granted. You knew that you were saved and loved God, but the excitement and newness had worn off. 

God was still working in your life. He saw the value in you even as time went on and you didn’t feel Him close to you.

One of the things I remember was my father-in-law, Gary, and his brothers would go to Pigeon Forge for what was called the Rod Run. This was an entire week that people from around the country would bring antique cars. Some brought their cars to show off, while others were selling them. There were even guys selling old cars that were rusted frames of a car in anticipation that someone might see the former beauty of that car and buy it. It was the countless hours spent on those classic cars that brought a greater value to them than what they originally were.

Even some of those restoration shows you might see on tv, where the guys are looking for that old junked car that has been neglected for years sitting in an old barn or field; But something catches their eye and they see the greater value of the finished project than the current condition. If people saw the value and worth when the car was new, compared to the years of wear and tear on them to the point of rust and damage they would have maintained it, yet someone now  sees a priceless treasure in it and does a restoration.

There is the old adage of “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.

That is true. Each person may look at the same object, but see a different value or worth to that item. 

Dr. Cole said, ”Marriages don’t need maintenance — they need a man’s time and talent used creatively to increase both value and pleasure.”

Just like those home improvement or car restoration shows. Over time someone felt that it was too much work to continue to care and maintain the needs of the house or car and let it go. As time went, it deteriorated to the point that no one wanted it. But then someone saw it as an opportunity for a fixer upper.

That is what God is wanting for each of us.

That relationship or marriage that started out great, but as time went on and things became tough that some felt it is easier to walk away and give up rather than to try and fix and maintain it. 

Even in your relationship with Christ, you may feel like it is hard work to maintain the joy and excitement that you once had when you first got saved.  There may be those moments that you feel like Christ has given up and abandoned you like one of those junk cars sitting out in a field rusting away. It comes with daily maintenance in your heart and in your relationships with Christ,  your wife, family and friends. 

You may have had those seasons in your life where you did walk away from Christ and struggled with old habits and addictions that took a toll on your body and life. 

Yet, God still sees the former glory and beauty in your life and knows that you are far more valuable once He restores YOU. HIS FIXER UPPER.