As my son, John, approached his 16th birthday, he was actively shopping for his first vehicle. One day a friend of his called him and said, "Hey, you've got to take a look at this 1966 Ford truck. It doesn't run, but it can be fixed up and you can get it for a steal." The next day John and his friend (who happened to be his former grade school principle) came home towing "Old Red." It needed paint; it needed repairs to the engine; it needed repairs to the bed; but together John and Mr. Flurry worked on this old truck. Then one day, John came running into the house shouting, "It's running! It's running!" Though it still needed a lot of work, together they had got the truck running. But that was only the beginning. Over the years, as time and money have allowed, John has continued to repair, fix-up and restore that truck. John is now in his 30's and "Old Red" is still a work in progress...
Throughout the years, John has had many opportunities to sell the truck. But I don't think he ever will. It has sentimental value in that it was his first truck; but beyond that, the truck is an ongoing project. Today he and his son (the picture above is of his son, Sam, standing in front of the truck) take the truck out for rides and, from time to time, work on it together. Most recently, a photographer has been paying John to "rent" the truck for various photo sessions. My guess is that John will be working on this truck throughout his entire life.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Philippians 1:6, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." It is a reminder to us that, in Christ, we are an ongoing project: God is continually at work: mending us, healing us, fixing, and repairing us. He is in the process, over time, of transforming us into the people He wants us to be. This work of transformation is not always an "easy work," and it is usually one that does not come quickly. But we have God's promise - He will keep working on us until His work in and through us, is complete. Like "Old Red," God one day (through our faith in Christ) "towed us home." But that was only the beginning; then His work of restoration began. Like "Old Red," we are a"work in progress," and God is not finished with us yet!
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.