When will it be done?”
“When will you paint it?”
These are two of the most common questions I receive about my old truck, outside of what year it is and what engine is in it. Except, like many old car projects, there will likely never be a “done.” There will be new parts here and there and changes made yet, but it will always be a work in progress.
When I was 15 and bought my 1964 Chevy truck from a farmer east of where I grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, I had grand dreams of what my dad and I would turn this old farm truck into.
My dad and I went to many car shows over the years. I saw many pristine trophy-winning hot rods that never even saw a raindrop. At the time, I thought that was the standard to shoot for, but a high schooler working part time at a fried chicken restaurant could only afford a few parts here and there.
Often there can be such a misperception at church. Some think church is for those who are polished and have reached a certain standard. But if you start reading through the lives of many of the figures in the Bible, there are a lot of pieces of unfinished work.
So, should we lower our expectations?
Well, no. In part, all the mess and brokenness mentioned in scripture is evidence of what needs fixing due to sin and how far humans have fallen short of God’s original standards. Yet, the Bible also gives hope for humans facing their own shortcomings.
And even if progress is going in the right direction, sometimes it takes longer than we wish. We notice there is always more work to do, never “arriving.”
So, too, goes my truck, and that’s OK. It is still roadworthy, and it’s OK if it gets dirty. It can drive straight, bring me from point A to B, and have fun doing it.
Our faith is similar. It may not be perfect, but what counts is if our faith directs us back to the perfect one, Jesus Christ. We receive God’s blessings through faith, and he begins to restore us.
Further, other followers of Christ can help us patch up holes in our faith like the friends with welding skills help me with my truck. For Paul wrote the church in Thessalonica about how encouraged he was by their faith and love. Yet, they weren’t done yet, because he tells them, “Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.” (1 Thessalonians 3:10).
Hearing that your faith is lacking could be taken as offensive! However, it’s OK if we realize we haven’t arrived yet. Pray that God continues to use your faith and life and draws you closer to him. He is in the business of the most extraordinary restoration project and will see it through to completion in His people. (Philippians 1:6)
A Work in Progress
When will it be done?”