My son’s girlfriend, Sam, delivered a few old pallets to me last week. I do woodworking as a hobby, and I love to take something old and discarded and turn it into something beautiful and useful. 

So I began my task by sawing the cross boards off with a reciprocating saw which cut through the nails holding the boards together. Then I removed the nail halves with a center punch and a hammer. The removed boards look very much like the one in the picture above. In fact, that is one of the boards I removed from one of the pallets. 

It’s certainly not a thing of beauty. It is rough and dirty with uneven edges. It is warped and crooked and appears to be good for nothing  but the fireplace. Let’s be honest, when compared with the wood in a fine piece of furniture, it’s just plain ugly!

When we take an honest assessment of our own lives we come away with a picture of ourselves that is very much like this board. We are warped, rough and ugly when we view ourselves in all our sin. We tend to view ourselves as a thing of dishonor for dishonorable use, not a thing of beauty to be admired. When we really take a deep and honest look at ourselves we recognize that we are destined for the fire just like the board from the used up pallet.

Because I am a woodworker and love the look, feel, and smell of wood, I see more in the board pictured above than most. There is a beauty there that lays beneath the surface. An incredible beauty of grain and color put there by the Creator Himself. A glory not yet seen.

Our great God and Savior see’s you in the same way as I see that piece of wood. He sees the beauty and color He’s built into each and every individual, and He wants to bring it out!

How does He do that? Like this old seemingly worthless piece of lumber which first had to be brought to the woodworker, you must come to the maker, Jesus Christ. The piece of lumber didn’t have to clean itself up first. It was brought dirty and misshapen. That is the same way we come to Jesus. We are unable to clean ourselves up. We can no more achieve this than can the piece of lumber above. If left alone it will only become more disfigured and worthless, but in the hands of the woodworker it’s beauty can be revealed. 

Next you need to give your life fully to the Lord. You have no control. You relinquish control of your life to God. Just as the piece of lumber is in the control of the woodworker. When you do that, God begins the process of making you beautiful.

How is that done? Very much the same way the woodworker cleans up the piece of pallet lumber. 

Having cut it free from the encumbrance of the pallet I take the piece over to the jointer and plane one of its edges true and straight. This means the removal of some of the old materiel which has been dirtied and warped by it’s life on the pallet. 

From the jointer it’s over to the table saw where the opposite side is trimmed to match the newly planed side. More dirty and warped material is removed. Now it’s on to the surface planer. 

The surface planer planes the surface of the board a little at a time. Three very sharp and very rapidly moving blades slice off bits of the dirty, rough, and warped board on one side. It takes many passes through the machine to remove all of the bad wood. A lot more dirty material is removed. Once the junk is gone from both sides the color and texture of the grain is revealed and that which appeared ugly and worthless now looks new and beautiful!

So it is with the one who gives his/her life to Jesus! The removal of the ugly and worthless material (sin) is often difficult and sometimes painful. It is a process which takes time and patience. However, like the old piece of pallet lumber, as each painful layer is removed, the beauty of our creation is revealed. 

So, now it’s up to you. You can remain dirty, ugly, and warped and wait for your place in the fire, or you can come to Jesus and, through the process of sanctification, be made new! My prayer is that you’ll seek the Woodworker! You are so beautiful beneath the surface of your sin! Like the cleaned up piece of pallet wood below, you will escape the fire and be ready to be made into something beautiful and useful! 

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