KEY SCRIPTURE Luke 7:41-48 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
Day two. The 6.00 am magpies have now left, and I'm sitting under my pop-up van awning in the Foreshore Caravan Park, Torquay, Victoria's surf mecca, sipping on a coffee as I tap the keys. My mate and I took a few days off to enjoy the coast, and we have a third mate coming down tonight.
I picked up mate 1 in Albion yesterday at 8.30 am to get a jump on our holiday, thinking we'll be all setup and relaxing with a cool drink by 10.30 am. However, he needed medication from Carlton near the city, in the opposite direction, which he couldn't pick up yesterday, being Labour Day. So we had to deviate there. En route, he googled their website's opening hours, which said 10.00 am. So to kill some time, we found a car park for a car and van and hit a Carlton coffee shop.
We arrived at the Medico's on the dot at 10.00 am to be told they had been opening at 9.00 am for months but hadn't changed it on the website. Then they told my mate that his medication wouldn't come in until 11:45 am unless he wanted to pick it up in St Kilda, another half hour away. Seeing the finale of this additional leg of our journey in sight, we headed off with the van through the morning traffic to St Kilda. Finally picking up his meds, we wound our way to the freeway and went off to the coast, surfboards on the roof and a beachcombers smile of anticipation.
It wasn't until we were setting up camp in Torquay that my mate realised he hadn't brought a doona or pillows. So, straight to the Salvo's Opp Shop on Gilbert Street, we went.
God is in the little things as well as parting seas. Doris was about to finish her shift, so if we'd been two or three minutes later, we might not have found such a helpful person. This lady went beyond the general courtesies of customer service, ferreting all through the shop and Staff Only Area to ensure my mate left with a quilt, blanket, pillow and cushion and got them tremendously cheap. Woolworths provided the sheets and pillowslips for $18. Then we took to the road again for a bit of sea-breeze solitude overlooking Bells Beach.
Once we'd finished our late dinner, we sat under the awning over a cuppa and chatted into the warm mild night, chasing the possums away. Overall, it was a great day, and sleep came easy.
But I'm not writing to share that sometimes our days don't work out as planned or that God blesses us in mysterious ways, even in small things. I want to share my thoughts when I awoke around 2.00 am and listened to the sea rolling in.
I reflected on the saplings and shrubs we plant in dunged soil and how they always seem to grow well, and related that to a Christian's life. Those who have read my book know I turned parts of my former life into dung. Many Christians have mess, sorrow and shame in their past, but if our hearts are right, God can use that dung for higher purposes turning those lives into blessings.
For instance, Nicky Cruz was a dunger (My new word). A former New York Mau Mau gang warlord saved through the ministry of David Wilkerson. He still tours the world at 84, bringing many other dungers to Christ.
If you feel your former life has left you with a deficit that plagues your thoughts, think about this point, and get moving for Jesus. The Holy Spirit has nine fruit He plants in us—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, and temperance (self-control), and knows precisely the soil into which they're going.
They can grow wonderfully in your life, thanks to the dung.
My dear Lord, thank you for changing my life around. So often, I think of the waste of my former life, but your redeeming power has changed me and re-purposed that loss and uselessness into good works for your glory. I can never thank you sufficiently except to keep following.
Photo by Dharanish Sakthivel