Monday, October 26, 2009

Last Words

King David, lying on his deathbed, spoke his last words to his son Solomon, the newly appointed king. He begins this distribution of wisdom by encouraging his son to be strong, to live as a man and to follow the laws of God. So far, so good. From there things go all to pieces.
If you look at a brand new spool of thread or rope or twine or wire or anything that comes neatly packaged from the factory, you can see a great deal of precision and perfection. Each successive turn falls perfectly next to the last, without a seam or a gap or a space at all. The most possible material fits in the packaging because of this perfection. But what happens when you need to use the thread or rope or wire? You unfailingly unravel more than you use - and then you try to put it back. Try as you might to re-wind, things never go back the way they were. You wind up with bumps and gaps, crossed wires and knots. The same is true with life.

David's life began like a tightly wrapped spool. He was strong and concise, his life was ordered and he was a man after God's own heart. His actions backed that up, whether alone against a giant, leading a huge army or hiding in the wilderness. David was on track, he was on point, his steps were in a straight line. Then things unraveled. His life came off track through his complacency and sin. He pulled too much too fast and found a mess.

The rest of his life was spent trying to re-wind the mess he had made. All the bits and pieces of his life came to the surface and things wouldn't go back the way they were. There were gaps and bumps and crossed lines. His family fell apart, rising against him in several quests for power. His kingdom ceased to shine the way it once had. He struggled to connect to God, his God, who he had been so close with in the past.

This is what sin does in all of our lives. No matter how tightly we wind or unwind, no matter how careful and in control we think we are, we find that our spool doesn't look like it did from the factory. We've got bumps and gaps and crossed wires and knots. Our spool is a mess.

David's words to Solomon start off tightly wound. They are on target: strong, important words for a young king to follow. They start to unwind, however into a bitter rant about rewards and revenge, ending with the stinging command, "Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood." Not the words anyone wants to be remembered by.

Even a disheveled spool has value. The wire still conducts, the string still pulls tight, the yarn still knits. We serve a God who salvages. He takes the things we have messed up and makes them right. They might not ever be perfect again (sin has consequences), but He gives them a value they never had. Yarn in a spool is never a sweater. Wire on a spool will never light up a house.

A perfect life is only one that hasn't been lived. A successful life is only one that has been salvaged by God.

1 comment:

  1. My life is full of "bumps" and "knots". I used to think they were just worthless scars, but recently God's been them in pretty amazing ways. Sometimes when someone sees our knots they realize that there is hope and grace that they don't know right now. It can be remarkable. :)