"Precious marks"

Maybe no one will notice. I turned the coffee table so that the flaw would be less visible to the members of our Bible study. Still, my friend Wendy spotted the little notches and I had to admit our son had cut his first teeth there earlier that week. She smiled and said, "Oh, now you'll never be able to get rid of that table; those marks are precious."

Most of us live with dents, scratches, and other "marks" on our hearts and minds, you know, the embarrassing stuff from past mistakes. The problem is, sometimes we think God can't or won't use us in ministry because of these imperfections.

Paul openly recounted his dark past in a letter to his protégé, Timothy. He said, "Christ Jesus . . . appointed me to serve Him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted His people" (1:12-13).

Although Paul was aware of these prior offenses, he understood that "anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

This new life is a product of God's mercy, which is available to all of us who know Him through Christ. God transforms lives that are marked with addiction, immorality, and even abuse. He does this so that He can use us "as a prime example of His great patience with even the worst sinners" (1 Timothy 1:16).

Did you ever stop and think that God wants to use you in ministry specifically because of your past, not in spite of it? In His eyes, our marks are precious. "He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can go and do the good things He planned for us long ago" (Ephesians 2:10). , Jennifer Benson Schuldt, Our Daily Journey

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