Our church has a special ministry partner called Wheels. It’s aptly named, because the ministry is dedicated to repairing donated vehicles for those in need of transportation. There is a unique and beautiful story behind every person or family who gets a car. More often than not, people from broken places are given this gift of transportation as a part of their redemption story. These cars are gifts that the world may tell them they do not deserve, but God has other plans, and He uses this ministry to help orchestrate them.
My husband serves on the board of Wheels, and he gets to hear the stories behind each person’s journey to the point where they receive a car. More often than not, the recipients are fighting through difficult circumstances. For most of them, receiving a car alleviates burdens that many of us cannot even fathom. It’s a game changing moment in their story. And when they receive a car, they (and their families, if present) are prayed over by the entire team of volunteers who worked to make sitting in the driver’s seat a reality.
I think about the posture of these people receiving cars. How might it feel to receive a gift so large, so life-changing? I do imagine that some might receive cars and after a period of time, go about their business and forget just how big that blessing was. I imagine many of us could fall into that. But how about the people who use that moment in their lives as their testimony to bring others to Christ? How about the people who use the transportation to bless others who need help?
This leads me to also think about the countless things I’ve received in my life that I didn’t deserve. Things that were undoubtedly provided to me only by the grace of God. If I took inventory of those things right now, would I find that I use those things for Kingdom purposes? In looking at that list, I am faced with a choice – to keep my current posture, easily taking for granted the blessings offered to me, or I can change my posture, and take notice of my blessings and use them to connect others to God.
Taking blessings for granted is not unusual, even in the Bible. As I’ve recently been reading through the Old Testament, I’ve noticed there is story after story of people who saw multiple miracles and stories of redemption (Moses parting the Red Sea, Manna from Heaven, the fall of Jericho…), yet lacked a fear of God and simply regressed to their sinful ways a short time later. I used to think to myself, if I witnessed those things and heard from God the way they did, my faith would be so strong. I know now how naïve that is, because if I look around, miracles are happening all around us. Miracles of redemption are happening at Wheels each week! Redemption is why the world so desperately needs Jesus.
In examining its definition, Redemption is an action of being saved, or regaining something. It isn’t simply a gift to be received; it is a journey to be embraced. Erin recently shared a beautiful story about a young man who made some poor choices which led him to a struggle. But it was the choices he made at the peak of the struggle that led to redemption. His posture changed, he embraced the journey he was on, and went on to lead others.
I believe that in order to receive the fullness of blessings God has for each of us, we have to be willing and ready to receive. If we are to fully embrace this journey to which God calls us, we need the right posture.
So, what does it look like to have the right posture? Here are five keys I’ve identified:
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:5
First and foremost, we must be in a relationship with Jesus. Specifically, this means accepting that Jesus is your Lord and Savior. It also means consistently making choices that lead us to Him. Two ways I do this are by having daily conversations with God through prayer, and regularly reading my Bible.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.Psalm 147:3
In essence if something needs redeeming, that means that it was broken. How many of us have brokenness in our lives? I know I do. The individuals who apply for cars at Wheels came to a place where they realized they needed intervention in their chaos. The world offers blinders and often suggests that we should “do it all on our own,” but the longer we don’t tend to our wounds, the worse they will get.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10
God uses his people. Isn’t it amazing that God uses something as unsuspecting as a car ministry to bring people closer to Him? The volunteers working on cars aren’t giving sermons or going to far off mission fields, but they are helping usher in redemption in the car business. They are being the hands and feet of Christ by using their hands to pop up the hood and their feet to kick the tires.
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.2 Corinthians 2:9
We need to be able to receive. I know I am not alone in saying that sometimes it is hard to receive. Think about the last time you put thought into a gift and were so excited to give it to the recipient. What if they did not accept it? How would you feel? If you’re like me, you would feel lousy, so imagine how God must feel when He offers gifts such as grace, love, and forgiveness, and we simply do not receive? I think about the joy people have when they leave Wheels with their ‘new’ car. That is joy from the Lord. Their circumstance may still be hard, but they have received and witnessed God at work that day in their lives.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28
This has been my go-to verse these past 13 months. When things are too hard, and don’t make sense, we are called to trust God to redeem things that are not yet redeemed, and maybe won’t be in this lifetime. So, a big part of my faith this past year has been trusting what God will do, but has not yet done, or what I can’t yet see. When individuals get to a point of applying for a car at Wheels, they have gotten to a point where they can do nothing but trust that God will provide.
None of us deserves the wonderful gifts God gives, but all of us can be in a posture to receive them. Romans 5:8 states, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Not “He showed”, rather “He shows”. That means right now, He is showing His love to us, so that when we are ready to connect with Him, realize that we have brokenness, and recognize that He will use others and us for His works, we can receive His gifts, and trust that He will work it all out for His good.
Whether we’re receiving something as life-changing as transportation, or as small as grace for missing a deadline, God can use it big for His purposes! After all, He’s the ultimate redeemer!
My husband says the people who receive cars through Wheels are usually happy from the moment they walk into the shop to the time they leave. Their posture is noticeable. And as they drive off the lot, they are driving off with more than new transportation. They are driving off with hope and a new outlook. That’s what redemption offers us! What a gift indeed!
I thank You, Lord, for Your son Jesus, who paid the ultimate price for our ultimate redemption. I thank You that even still today You show Your love to us. I am so grateful that You use others in our lives to show us what redemption looks and feels like. I pray that I can keep my eyes fixed on You, and consistently stay in a posture to embrace the blessings in this life – this life here on earth that leads to eternity with You!