Throughout all my young growing-up years, my family frequently traveled to Chester, Vermont, to visit my great grandparents in their old 1865 duplex.
It was a huge house, and one of the unique (although not for that time) features was a walk-in pantry in the kitchen.
The walls on each side were lined with shelves, and a window at the end of the pantry looked out toward the hillside.
Just under that window was an old, gray painted commode, which is a chest of drawers or chiffonier of a decorative type popular in the 18th century. (Not housing for a chamber pot!) 🙂
At one time, long ago, my great grandmother worked on top of when she was making pies and so forth.
Skipping ahead a few decades, my grandmother gave grandfather a new Bose stereo system, and suddenly Grammy’s old, gray painted commode was up for a new job.
It sat in their basement, in the house on the Cape, for many years, looking just as it did in the pantry once upon a time.
My grandparents wanted the antique furniture to look a little nicer if it was going under the new Bose stereo system!
My Dad, a classically trained artist, woodworker, and Jack of all trades renaissance man (along with being a minister in the Lord’s church), was shocked and excited when he began to strip away the chipped and faded paint.
Underneath the ancient paint was beautiful, old, varnished oak.
Though crude in some ways, the commode was a classic piece of New England furniture.
And to prove the point, he turned the top drawer over, and you could just read Springfield, VT scrawled on the bottom slats.
After a week and a half of stripping, sanding, varnishing, and restoration, you would not even recognize it.
My Dad knew that when my grandparents finally saw the complete restoration, they would be pleased and praise me for the work he did because that’s what parents do.
But even as he was working on it, he couldn’t help but think the maker of that beautiful piece of furniture should get all the glory!
All my Dad did was make it so people could see his work, the maker’s craftsmanship once again.
After Paul finished laying out his impressive credentials, the ‘a summary translation’ might say, “The old, decrepit, chipped, and faded grey paint must be stripped away!”
Paul called it rubbish!
Paul said, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:7-8 RSV
Just like in my Dad’s restoration job, we need to have the attitude that sin and self and self-glory need to be completely stripped away so the hand of the Maker can be seen and He can be glorified in our lives!
Because our Maker must get the glory!