Old Things Made New
Late in the year, I found I that had unintentionally stumbled into a small-scale restoration business. With some extra money gained from the sale of a sweepstakes prize (thanks be to God… and to Modern Drummer magazine and Tama drums!), I started buying and reselling some used – and in many cases abused – drum set equipment
Among the purchased items were drums in need of new heads, cymbals requiring a thorough cleaning, and hardware with parts broken or lost. Nearly everything needed a good dusting and polishing (and even some scrubbing and fingernail-scraping!). Various “lonely” components were combined into full sets that might be enjoyed by a new owner at Christmastime. When the work was done, musical instruments that had at first appeared to be of limited usefulness had gained another chance to be appreciated; to be valuable to someone. And I made a bit of a profit, too!
Reflecting on this entrepreneurial experience, I saw a relevance to the holiday season. The Gospel message is that God is in the business of restoring not pre-owned material things, but secondhand human beings. Jesus came to buy up “instruments” that have been played, neglected, mistreated, and battered by the world. He seeks people who are shabby, grimy, and perhaps missing some pieces; people who have been put aside, unwanted, into the corner of society’s cluttered garage. Not with money, but with his own lifeblood he has paid for these instruments so that they can be clean and complete, prepared to make the music for which they were originally intended. In his eyes, they end up as new and purposeful as my refurbished drum sets were to their recipients. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). And just as I grouped diverse items together to make complete drum sets, the displaced “spare parts” of humanity are combined by God to form an integrated, functional group: Psalm 68:6 tells us, “God sets the solitary in families.”
Having paid such a premium to reclaim us from our former predicament, God also expects a return on his investment. He desires a profit: he wants to hear good music being made for the benefit of any willing listener (see Luke chapter 19). What a shame it would be if, having been restored, his new creations were to sit idle, eventually to end up in a dark, dirty storage space again (2 Peter 2:20-22). Just as drums are undoubtedly meant to be heard (though not just loudly pounded at random), God’s instruments ought to cause the world to sit up and take notice of their righteous, well-coordinated rhythm, encouraging them to reverberate to his holy frequency. Each Christian’s life should resonate with other receptive instruments, so that perhaps God will restore them to playability, too. What a place the Earth would be if it were filled with God’s refurbished drums!