Saturday, May 31, 2008

It Depends Upon Your Perspective

One thing that we enjoy around here as a family is finishing new furniture and refinishing old furniture. There's an element to refinishing an old piece that new pieces can't offer and vice versa.

Refinishing old pieces, reminds us that there was a heritage laid up for us. Old pieces remind us of the memories we made as a family. Generally these memories are of times and circumstances where God molded us into the family He wanted us to be. We are able to call to mind examples of sacrifice, investment, ingenuity, character proved true, and special Providences we received when we view our old furniture as a memorial of what God has done for us.

An old piece that isn't a family heirloom takes our thoughts one step further causing us to look to the countless others that have gone before us, contributing to our heritage. If a young lady finds herself in the position of being a first generation Christian, refinishing old flea market treasures can help her call to mind that God has been gracious by other means and has seen to it that she would have a foundation to build on. There are countless men and women that God has used and preserved as a remnant.

When we first moved to Texas we chose to buy and finish new furniture because it fit our schedule better. Hunting for and stripping old pieces does require more time. New unfinished furniture causes us to be visionary, thinking about the heritage we will be leaving those that come after us. Taking the time to finish the new furniture as a family builds a memory of the time we started anew, following God's new direction for us. There will be many stories to tell about the adventure to Texas as we sit together with children to come surrounded by these special pieces.

There is still more to the story. What makes a person able to call such things to mind is a visionary perspective of life. There isn't a chair, bookcase, or shelf in the world that will speak such things unless the person them self is visionary. We are commanded to teach this perspective for a very important reason.

Proverbs 29:18 tells us that "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."

Matthew Henry gives further understanding:

See here, I. The misery of the people that want a settled ministry: Where there is no vision, no prophet to expound the law, no priest or Levite to teach the good knowledge of the Lord, no means of grace, the word of the Lord is scarce, there is no open vision (1 Sa. 3:1), where it is so the people perish;

Perishing is a grave consequence for neglecting to maintain a visionary mindset. It goes to show us just how much importance God places on maintaining a vision for ourselves and our families. Perishing means that God will remove his grace from us, that very thing that sustains us. In light of this, we understand what is at stake, but also we are able to see the necessity to make the vision plain to our children and fellow believers.

Being visionary and articulating a God centered vision inspires others to hope. God instructs us how to hope and how to teach others to hope.

Proverbs 13:12 tells us: Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Matthew Henry explains:

Note, 1. Nothing is more grievous than the disappointment of a raised expectation, though not in the thing itself by a denial, yet in the time of it by a delay: Hope deferred makes the heart sick and languishing, fretful and peevish; but hope quite dashed kills the heart, and the more high the expectation was raised the more cutting is the frustration of it. It is therefore our wisdom not to promise ourselves any great matters from the creature, not to feed ourselves with any vain hopes from this world, lest we lay up matter for our own vexation; and what we do hope for let us prepare to be disappointed in, that, if it should prove so, it may prove the easier; and let us not be hasty.

2. Nothing is more grateful than to enjoy that, at last, which we have long wished and waited for: When the desire does come it puts men into a sort of paradise, a garden of pleasure, for it is a tree of life. It will aggravate the eternal misery of the wicked that their hopes will be frustrated; and it will make the happiness of heaven the more welcome to the saints that it is what they have earnestly longed for as the crown of their hopes.

Which it leaves us an obvious choice, we must be visionary and we must continue to hope. It is our responsibility to do this work and to uplift others with visionary thinking, visionary speech, and visionary living.

It is important to foster visionary thinking in family members no matter how old they are. We have seen, as a family, most often it is adults that perish or suffer greatly due to visionlessness and hopelessness, rather than naive children. There is greater risk of consequences the older we get because we are responsible to know "the good knowledge" of the Lord.

Stripped, with the first coat of stain.

Because of our Christian heritage, derived from the grace of God making us whole, christian family members, and from fellow Christians in the body of Christ past and present, we have reason to be thankful to God for the plenty of open vision which we enjoy.

Matthew Henry concludes his commentary on Proverbs 29:18

The felicity of a people that have not only a settled, but a successful ministry among them, the people that hear and keep the law, among whom religion is uppermost; happy are such a people and every particular person among them. It is not having the law, but obeying it, and living up to it, that will entitle us to blessedness.


Charlotte said...

Looks like fun! My favorite thing in my house is the buffet I refinished.I looked in EVERY thrift shop and swap meet for almost rwo years (drove Dan crazy)and finally one of my friends was getting rid of her grandmas dresser because it was too old...a few minor chages and A LOT of love and wood stain...and now I it is perfect! Enjoy

The Serven Clan said...

Learning to refinish is on my "someday" list. First up though is reupholstry. Once Sarah and I get that figured out, then we'll move to wood. I guess we are spoiled as Nathan usually does that kind of stuff for us. : )

In Christ,

Miss Kelly & Miss Andrea said...

It sounds beautiful. Will there be any pictures available for us to see? What's funny is I have considered using a dresser for a buffet. It seems like an excellent solution for all our doilies and linens that need a home.

I am looking forward to hearing about your upholstery adventures. What will be your first project?

We have done small projects in the past, recovering seat cushions on a couple dinette sets. We've been eyeing the couches and overstuffed chair though.

My mother has recovered a couch but I was too young to help. Your welcome to send questions if need be and I will forward them to her.

God Bless,

Megan said...

Very good post.

I have a love for antique furniture. Many pieces tend to get my imagination going, if you know what I mean. I like to think that the person who made the piece took pride in what they created and worked on for hours. I can't wait to have a home of my own someday so I can fill it with bits and pieces of history.

Marci said...

What a great post. I think there are spiritual lessons all around us if we look for them.