Beautiful Things

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Beauty.  Our culture is obsessed with it.  During a commercial break you can almost always find a slim, long-legged girl, or a sleek sports car.

Recently television has discovered what some people already knew – that there is a deeper kind of beauty, one that goes beyond the surface and resonates on a soul level.  In the last few years, there has been no shortage of home makeover shows, weight loss shows, and even shows about taming your pet or child.  All of these shows portray restoration on some scale.  Witnessing something restored makes us catch our breath, remember how to hope, and in essence, shows us the beauty of God and his kingdom.

My oldest two children are now in school (and yes, that’s a beautiful thing! 🙂 )  After becoming active in our school’s PTA last year, I was asked to consider taking more of a leadership role this year.  I had been trying to cut down on the things I committed to, so I was initially going to decline.  After several weeks of prayer though, I felt God leading me to accept.  I was perplexed.

This year, God is unraveling the mystery of why He had me say yes.  While working for our local church I learned how to build and lead teams of volunteers.  I had no clue last year, but this is the exact skill set I needed this year to work with the PTA.  (God is amazing like that.)  We are blessed to be a part of a great school, but even so, schools in our state have it pretty rough right now.  Their standards have increased while they’ve watched their funds and other resources decrease.  As a former teacher, I know it can be tough to keep a good attitude, and see any hope in the current situation.  The skills God equipped me with, along with the place He has put me, has allowed Him to begin restoring hope in the eyes of some school staff members as projects get completed…and THAT is a beautiful thing.

Tim Keller has a sermon titled, “The Inside Out Kingdom.”  I think I’ve listened to it five times now.  (Listen to it here or here.)  He speaks of something he calls ‘gospel goodness.’  As he points out, the gospel itself is offensive.  It brings us face to face with our sin and brokenness.  It is painful to acknowledge that brokenness, and to then release it by stepping into the forgiveness Christ offers.  What shouldn’t be offensive is the ‘gospel goodness’ we, as believers, exude.  In fact, our ‘gospel goodness’ should be attractive. God restored us to a right relationship with Him when we accepted Him as our savior.  Each day He is continuing to restore us to be the men and women He created us to be.  Our lives should be an overflow of this goodness.

17″Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: ” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Many accounts of Jesus tell of him meeting physical needs, bringing restoration to an Earthly situation before He offered restoration on a spiritual level.  (Woman at the well, feeding the 5,000, healings of all kind are just a few I think of.)  I wonder if this was because He knows it’s hard for us to comprehend soul restoration without first seeing a physical example of restoration.  I also think that’s one reason he could often be found hanging out with the people who had some issues.  Who better to restore than those who much to be restored?

So where are we hanging out?  What projects of restoration are we involved in?  Andy Stanley said, ‘Do for one what you can’t do for all.’  We don’t have to be involved in world restoration (although that’d be amazing), but we can simply help one person…one day…one time.  It won’t be convenient, just as it wasn’t for the Good Samaritan (read it here).  It also might not be rewarding on the surface – you may not get thanked, may not get your money back, and may not get any recognition at all for your good deed.  BUT, you can rest assured knowing you blessed the heart of the one who restored you.  How are you bring God’s kindness, love, and grace into the world to restore it one moment at a time?

Could you live in a neighborhood you might not normally choose in order to help restore it?  Could you give to those who could never meet their needs without help?  Could you apologize to that person you’ve held a grudge against forever?  If you can’t do any of those, you can pray and ask God to show you where He wants to use you to bring restoration.

God is beautiful.  He created beauty.  He will restore His followers and His Earth to a kind of beautiful we can’t imagine.

 

You know I couldn’t leave you without a song, so here’s one that I’ve loved for a while now.  Click here to listen to the song “Beautiful Things” by Gungor.

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