. . . character more than damage

When I purchased my Martin D28, I was a lowly college student in Allentown PA, on a two year Jonah-run from pastoral ministry. I couldn’t afford the instrument. My rationalization was that it would be a ministry tool and would last a lifetime.

Thirty-two years later, I still have it . . . but it’s not the same guitar. It has a collection of nics and scratches and each one tells a story. There is the pock mark just below the bridge from a piece of rock, playfully tossed at me by one of my former young people. It is a tiny mark but I could literally feel it when it happened.

There are places where the finish is dulled from the night that one of my kids was trying to be helpful. They sprayed “Off” around my head to try to keep the mosquitos away. The airborne repellent literally ate away the lacquer as I watched.

There are mysterious scuff marks on the bottom of the bell. It took me forever to identify the source. They were from many years of the guitar being stored the same way in a velour lined case. The weight of the guitar itself, over time, created them.

My signature is inlaid in the fretboard, in abalone. I underpaid a young man for three hours work to turn the aging instrument into an heirloom. The white spruce top is now a deep orange. Mostly though, the difference is the tone. The value of the instrument is in the sound that it creates. No new, off-the-pegs guitar sounds like this one. The craftsman can’t create this. It is the sole product of time.

Same with you and me.

There is a beauty, a maturity that has come through good and bad experience that cannot be produced overnight. While there may be cosmetic casualty as time does it’s less than flattering work, there is spiritual tonality that is becoming richer with every challenge.

“There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” (Philippians 1:6 The Message) It is the constant, ongoing, lifetime work of God.