Useful to the End

I don’t like throwing things away. The trainers I wore in Jerusalem this year I have had since 2005. They’re fine, so long as it isn’t wet, and you aren’t walking a gravel path. I have another pair I still wear that were purchased in 1996 (see picture). The ankle support is all worn out, so they’re fine so long as you don’t do much walking in them.

The towel with which I dried my hair this afternoon was acquired when I started secondary school in 1990. It still has my name label stitched into the corner, so as not to get lost after PE. The edges are frayed and its fabric is rather rough on the skin, but there’s still life in it.

My favourite jumper was given to me in 1995 from a couple at church. The left elbow has disappeared, and there are six or so holes in it. Yet I cannot throw it away- there’s still, I reason, a few more wears left in it.

Having re-read this, I could agree with you if you think I suffer some kind of mental imbalance. I find it really hard to discard an item unless it’s literally unwearable. If it can survive another wash, it’s not yet ready to be slung.

This principle, I believe, is why God allows us to linger here on earth when we are well past our official sell-by-date. An elderly Christian I know has just moved into a nursing home. She can’t walk and attending church is now out of the question. So why doesn’t the Lord just take her? Perhaps the Lord is as frugal with his servants as I am with my clothing. He wants a good return on His investment; while there is still a little wear left, the Lord can find a little work for us to do. If you are reading this, feeling redundant or useless, remember the Lord keeps you here because you still have a purpose. You might not look much, and others might have discarded you years ago, but not He hasn’t.

In case anyone’s wondering, the clothing in question is not good enough for the charity shops.