Glory and Splendor

I had a job to do today. A couple of weeks ago I made a commitment to the woman who is directing my church family’s Vacation Bible School to do this job. It wasn’t a difficult job, either. As I thought about it, it just seemed like an obligation that I needed get out of the way so that I could get on with my day.

My assignment was to get the old puppet stage out of storage and spiff it up a bit so that we can use it for VBS next week. It was retired from service several years ago, but due to special circumstances it will be taken out of mothballs and pressed into service this year.

Like I said, this is not a big job, especially since one of the seamstress sisters said she would help me out by making a nice new curtain for the stage. My thought was that I’d just splash a quick coat of dark paint on this relic and it would be good to go.

Things changed, though, when I had an opportunity to evaluate the puppet stage. The craftsmanship that went into making it was amazing. No detail is lacking, including the snazzy little front legs that swing out to ensure that the stage doesn’t tip forward on top of those with front row seats. As others passed through the garage, no one seemed to know the identity of the original artisan. They just knew it had been around for as long as they could remember. Everyone agreed, also, that whoever it was put a lot of special effort into the project.

After taking a close look at this masterpiece it no longer seemed appropriate to slap on a coat of paint. I was working on someone’s “baby”, which had been meticulously constructed. My priorities were changed. It suddenly seemed that my responsibility was to preserve and restore this functional art. For the next several hours I enjoyed my labor of love. I’m no expert. I have watched enough HGTV with my wife to know where to start. The rest just sort of flowed naturally.

I was able to do some thinking during the process. I began to wonder how many times we find ourselves in similar circumstances.

–How often do I fail to fully appreciate the efforts of others, because I don’t take time to look at them closely?

–How many times have I just pushed through my obligations, without giving much thought to anything more than how to get the job done in the easiest, fastest way possible?

–Why did this perfectly good, masterfully constructed puppet stage ever get relegated to the basement storage area?

After ruminating for a while, my thoughts turned to some of the other older things around me. Even though a crew had cleaned out the garage a few weeks ago, there were still loads of old things everywhere. There was an old stepladder that I imagine hundreds of different people have climbed. There were old tools of every sort. Some were probably used by a couple of generations before they were given to the church. So many good, old things!

It hit home to me that sometimes we make older people feel like they are relics from the past—that their place is in storage somewhere. A proverb that I memorized years ago kept running through my mind, as well. A modern translation words it like this: “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31, TNIV).

There will always be advancement, growth, development and change. Young people with fresh ideas and reserves of strength are one of our greatest assets. Once again, we have Solomon’s collected wisdom to put this into perspective. Proverbs 20:29 states, “The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.”

However, recognizing the value of one group does not mean that we must minimize another. God values both the young and the old. We should do the same. I believe this is the biggest point my puppet stage experience brought home. I was working on something that was probably built by someone who has already gone to his or her reward. A generation younger than me plans to use it as a tool to help them teach yet another generation basic biblical truths. Incredible isn’t it? That one puppet stage now spans at least four generations. Sunday night it will be set on the stage. It will be used by puppeteers to many a child’s delight, I’m sure. It will stand, also, as a testimony that the old and the new, the young and the old, glory and splendor, can and should be meshed together for ministry to glorify God and bless many lives!

© Bill Williams

July 8, 2006

 

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Blogroll, Children, Christian Living, Christianity, Church, Family, Following Jesus, Life, Personal, youth. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Glory and Splendor

  1. Kathy says:

    “It will stand, also, as a testimony that the old and the new, the young and the old, glory and splendor, can and should be meshed together for ministry to glorify God and bless many lives!”

    How very Titus 2 of you, Bill. :O)

    From all the splenderous greyhaired ones of us that participate here, thank you and blessings!! 🙂

  2. Kathy, We certainly do appreciate your splenderous greyhairedness here at the Spiritual Oasis! Grace and peace to you, -bill

  3. Dee Andrews says:

    Your post here about the significance of the past and those who have gone before us and who are well on their way out of this life – “Glory and Splendor” – reminds me very much of my thoughts lately. Tom and I are both avid historians and both have a strong sense of not only the brevity of life, but also its continuity through those generations of people who have gone before, through us and those to come.

    This need for continuity is great and I feel compelled to do my part, just as my parents, grandparents and those even further back did in their own lives and times. That is why I wrote the essay I did that I posted on July 4 at Finding Direction and why I started Grace Notes. That is also why I treasure more than any other possessions the things that have been handed down to me by those now gone and the best of those things are not material “things” at all, but a legacy of morals and values.

    I highly prize those, realizing people living long ago way before lived in certain ways that are reflected in how my own life has been lived. I was talking with my younger son, Mark, a few days ago about what things among my personal possessions he would most like to have after I’m gone.

    What he said surprised me, but pleased me very much. He said that more than wanting any of the mementoes and memorabliia I might leave behind, he wants a written biography of my life for his girls. He wants a record of my life and accomplishements in ways that he can share with little Zoe and Hannah so they can learn from my life what is most important for theirs.

    That is why I wrote the “Wind Vane” essay I did a few months ago at Finding Direction that I called Harvey and Our Sphere of Influence. For the very same reasons you outline here today so well and for the same reasons Mark wants written words and remembrance of lives for his daughters.

    Glory and splendor, indeed.

    Thanks, Bill.

  4. Greg England says:

    Good post. In John 4 when Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob, Jesus was refreshed by a well dug centuries earlier by those who did their job well. I often think of that when doing something that could be accomplished easier or faster via shortcuts. Who knows what God will do with our investments?

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