Two broken glass tables…. and learning to “Shine” The difference between “Broken, and Dirty Leaders”

Useless. Frustrating. Irritating. And yes- somewhat stupid. I refer to: Glass topped patio tables.

I live in Michigan. We have beautiful seasons here- and some pretty fierce storms. About 6 years ago– we built a nice little house- We added a “brick-paver patio” to the back yard. In a “bout” of decorating- we bought a pretty glass topped table and matching umbrella- Can you guess what happened?

Over it went.

“Must be a fluke” So, out we went a few months later- to replace it. Over it went, again in the wind.

See what I mean? Stupid. It should not have take two trips to Home Depot for me to figure that one out. It did. It also required some creative clean-up technique— as broken bits of glass- are not good for feet- dog- child or otherwise…. lets just say- I used the SHOP VAC on the grass. I thought I had it all.

Last night, around 2:45 am..I let our “Bad Dog Sami” out into the yard… and sparkling in the grass- I saw glass. Broken, table top glass. STILL. Shining in the yard.

This morning- It’s still there- but honestly- it’s harder to see- why? Because- last night I had the patio door open…. today- I didn’t. Sami- was sleeping. (Of course- it was DAYTIME!- Told you- Bad Dog Sami!)

Wanna know something gross? My patio door is seldom clean. Between “Bad Dog Sami” Nose prints- and Noah’s “Mystery Goo” (as dubbed by my teens) the glass patio doors seldom sparkle. Actually- their hard to see thru at all. (Well- the bottom third is- anyway)

There is a huge difference between Broken Glass, and Dirty Glass. One somehow- shimmers and catches even MORE light, the other? Nothing. NO shine. No reflection. Just “Mystery Goo”.

This year- the MOPS International Theme is taken from Phillipians 2- a favorite passage of scripture for me. But- to be honest- one thats a little problematic. Why? Cause I feel more ” broken n dirty” than “Shining like stars!”

See- I’m not perfect. I know- I hear your shocked gasps…….(WAY heavy sarcasm there…) Actually- I’m a sinner. Just scroll thru my blog— you’ll see all KINDS of sin—- anger- (um the sinful kind– not the righteous kind) prejudice, laziness, greed…… blah blah- and all kinds of “Mystery Goo” I haven’t shared with you here). Yet- clearly- throughout scripture- believers- and followers of Christ are called, to be a “City on a hill” to shine hope—– well- read here- and see:

Philippians 2
Imitating Christ’s Humility

1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Shining as Stars

12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold out[
c] the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 17But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

See my problem? I’m No “SHINING STAR”… besides- that all sounds a little prideful… and uppity.. don’t you think? Like- maybe – if I believe this— then, I must think I’m “ABOVE” the “DEPRAVED WORLD”… right? WRONG.

What on earth does that have to do with broken tables? Dirty windows? Leaders?

See- it’s not about ME. If I read these words in a cursory way— it looks like it’s about ME… but it’s not.

It’s about God- who HE is, what HE has done— More often- what He IS DOING, in my life, to SHINE thru. Honestly- that’s usually done by being honest about struggles- and allowing God to change my heart and mind- thru His word and His people. Then sharing those things- as encouragement to others— (“With the comfort you’ve been given”) Truthfully- The comfort I’ve been given- is God’s presense in my life.

There is even a reason for my broken-ness-

2 Corinthinians 4—-says this:

5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a]made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

The difference between Broken and Dirty— is this: When we are broken- before God in regards to our sin- He shines thru- us. “We have these treasures in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us” If we WERE perfect—- in our own- then it WOULD be about us…

Look at what we do as a culture—- we look for “Perfect people” to emulate, to copy and to ogle over.. all the while waiting for them to fall so we can see their “come-uppenance”… (Think Marth Stewart) From fashion to literature- to pop culture- “it’s all about________” It’s just part of the fallen nature of Man. (and Woman!)

However- when we stop pretending to be perfect- and come to grips with our imperfection- something amazing happens. In our brokeness- God shines thru. He changes us- and shines thru us. He has a plan for our imperfection.

Roman’s 3:21-25 makes it clear:

21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through faith in his blood.

“Shine like stars in the universe”? Well- yes- but not because I think “I’m all that”… not even close! And I don’t HAVE to be either. (good thing) More like because I know I’m NOT- but God is- and I let Him shine out thru my cracks.

Hopefully- years from now- someone will “open a patio door on the back yard of my life”– and find broken bits of glass—- imperfect shards- reflecting God- in the sun. Well- unless their letting their Bad Dog out……then it would be in the moonlight!

Dear Lord- We both know I’m a mess, I don’t always “GET” why you WANT to shine thru me- (or any other imperfect person!) but- I trust that you do— because you said so. I love you Lord- and thank you for helping me understand, when I’m challenged by your words . Lord- at least in my brokenness, let me “shine”, amen