We are a reclamation project. We are that house that you see in the distance, a large beautiful Queen Ann e Victorian home. Around the perimeter of the yard you can see a perfectly measured hedge with possibly flowered trellises covering the entrances into the yard. As you get closer you see the beginning deteriorate, some peeling paint, a few loose boards and several missing shingles, but it is still an amazing structure. Your curiosity is piqued because you have this urge to see the inside. There must be some incredibly beautiful details in the interior that you have to see. You decide to trespass.
Inside it is a horribly decaying mess. It is possible to see some of the original work, elegant scrollwork on the stair bannister, door and window trim and the mantle but a lot has happened to it. Some of the trim boards don’t match because they had to replaced, obviously by an inferior workman compared to the original. Most of it painted over with an atrocious shade of some color that may have green at one time. Plaster has peeled away in chunks, some pieces hanging from the ceiling because of the horsehair mesh, and pieces of marble and granite missing from the fireplace. You are appalled that something with so much potential for beauty has allowed to not only decay but to be made worse by poor attempts to cover things up.
As you start to climb the stairs the banister falls away as soon as you grab it, but you decide to brave the stairs anyway. It is the same as the first floor. Horrendous. The attic is full of so much useless clutter that you cannot figure out what the former inhabitants were thinking or what made them decide to keep this junk around. You walk back down the stairs, and decide to be stupid (I mean brave) and go to the basement. The situation is worse. There are stones missing from the foundation and the bare wood is rotting and decaying. The foundation which was expertly made is in danger of collapsing. You leave the house disappointed, heartbroken as to how what was once an obviously beautiful home, built with such incredible attention to detail, would seem to be deliberately mistreated and abused. Your wonder if anyone is crazy enough or capable enough to restore this rubble.
Weeks later you decide to drive by the house. An old truck is in the driveway. It appears to be an old U-Haul truck because the outline of the letters are still visible despite being scraped off. Scaffolding has been setup around the house but your attention is drawn to a man in the yard surveying the work ahead. He is neither tall nor short, nor exceptionally built, tools and tool belt are old but well-kept but he has that certain thing about him that tells you he knows something about this kind of work. Then he turns and makes eye-contact and you understand. He is not a man who just patches things up and moves on. He is a master craftsman who not only restores the original details but adds his own touch to his work.
It is no coincidence that Jesus’ earthly father was a carpenter. A carpenter was capable of all stages of construction during that part of history. He worked with stone, wood, plaster and every type of material needed for building a home. A carpenter could restore things back to their original beauty. But Jesus came to restore something a whole lot more important to Him, and that’s us. We were the pinnacle of His creation. We were His masterpiece, created in His image, but we destroyed what was once beautiful and have been miserable failures in trying to repair it ourselves. We destroyed the spiritual relationship with Him and the earthly vessel that housed the spirit. Jesus came to not only restore the original relationship, He is building a better home for us to live and will give us new and improved bodies to enjoy it.
Restoring that house was going to be a long project. It was not something that would be quick nor simple, but worth doing in the end. We are no different. We are a lifetime (our lifetime) project. He does not just save us from our sins and leave us to stumble our way through life. He continues to work on us, changing us back into His original intent, shaping us into His image so the imprint of His mark is evident in all that we do. In spite of all destruction and garbage we collected that has left us in shambles, He found us worthy to be restored. He has found us worthy to share in His inheritance. He has found us worthy to live with Him for all eternity.
He has found us worthy, period. And that is all we need to know.