Beautiful Junk (John 12:24)

Beautiful Junk
(John 12:24)

Carlton W. Truax

Mr. Carlton W. Truax of Columbia, S.C., is a journalist and editor/manager of the S. C. Insurance News Service. This delightfully different article is his second to appear in FOOD FOR THE FLOCK.

God seldom, if ever, uses unbroken things.

This seems to be a basic principle of grace. The world throws away broken things as junk. God demonstrates the magnificence of His power and the wonder of His grace by turning junk into masterpieces.

Mrs. Me (that’s the helpmeet God gave me) is director of a day care centre where she teaches pre-school children and she collects junk … egg cartons, cereal boxes, bits and pieces of things most people throw away. Out of this “garbage” she creates teaching tools to use with her children. She calls it “beautiful junk.”

After telling us what kind of junk we were in Ephesians 2:1-2, the Holy Spirit goes ecstatic to explain what God has made out of us and comes to verse 10 where He says, “We are His poem”; His master creation.

God began in the beginning using broken things. Genesis 1:2 tells us the earth was without form, an empty waste. Using this formless waste, the Creator built the magnificent world which was before the flood. “And behold, it was very good.”

But there was one “not good” in it. “It is not good that man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18), and the good man God made was broken to make something better. Unbroken Adam was in that “not good” condition. Broken, God made him a suitable partner.

Then there was the broken fellowship.

More junk? Yes, but what did God make out of the junk? Before the break, Adam was a creature. After the break God displays His grace and power by making it possible for that which had become broken to be sons of God. How much more is this than that?

So the Bible is a chronology of broken things, beautiful junk out of which God works redemption, produces many children, builds His Church.

Our lives are a trail of broken toys. From the cord that binds us to our mother; in the shattered hopes and broken dreams, until finally “the silver cord is loosed and the golden bowl is broken and the pitcher is broken at the fountain and the wheel broken at the cistern. Then the dust returns to the earth is it was” (Eccles. 12:6-7). Broken things. Beautiful junk.

But without a battle there is never a victory and without a death there is never a resurrection.

I once saw a fossilized egg. But an unbroken egg will never hatch a bird. At every stage in our lives there is a “shell” to be broken if that which is new is to come out. This is an aspect of repentance few Christians have ever considered.

But repentance goes beyond that to other breakings.

“The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart, oh God, thou wilt not despise.”

The principle of beautiful junk works through the principle of repentance.

God Himself, in Christ, entered into the principle of broken things. On the table of the Lord are two elements that cannot be made without crushing — bread and wine.

In Psalm 104, while listing the blessings of God, the psalmist (v. 15) says, “and wine that maketh glad the heart of man, the oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.”

Wine, oil, bread … three things all made by breaking, crushing, bruising. Wine is the blood of Christ. Oil is the Spirit. Bread the body.

There is no oil on the Lord’s table, for who needs the symbol when the Real has come and “abides with us forever.” But “Gethsemane” means “oil press” and the Lord was broken so that we can receive them all: wine, oil, bread.

It is God’s principle of grace. He entered into our brokenness. “He who knew no sin became sin for us.” From this breaking comes forgiveness, wholeness, eternal life, salvation — which is a shorthand word for “all spiritual blessings in Christ.”

From this breaking also came the Church, His Bride, as the breaking of Adam the first “not good” was made good; God’s Son is no longer alone.

Glorious junk.