My sister and her husband bought a house they refer to as the Money Pit. The house was on the market for a long time because it was in such bad shape. The septic system was no good, the windows and roof needed to be replaced. The house was covered with vines and the yard was way overgrown. They knew when they bought it that it would cost a lot to fix things up, and they were right. It’s a fixer upper. They could see the potential even when it looked pretty bad. They were willing to invest the time and money to make it a beautiful home.
God is like that. We are the fixer uppers and he sees our potential. I read a quote (and I’m not sure of the source) but it stuck with me. “Christ knows what the soul can become. It can be a reflection of God himself.”
God sees an individual soul – not as who we are now – in all of our sins – but in who we can become – who he created us to be. He didn’t focus on all that was wrong with me when he called me back. He drew me to what I could become by His grace. Did he know all of my faults? Of course. He is the all-knowing God. My faults didn’t matter to Him. He saw my potential.
So we are the fixer uppers, and God wants us, generously showering His grace on us. It's like we are a Grace Pit instead of a money pit. It’s not that he doesn’t recognize how much work needs to be done. Quite the opposite. He knows everything. He knows our weaknesses, our temptations, the sins of our past - all of it. In spite of that, he sees our potential, just like my sister and her husband saw the potential in their money pit house.
Let’s look at some fixer uppers in the Bible and see how Jesus might have seen their souls:
- Simon Peter. He was a fisherman. I don't think he was too bright because he often missed the point when Jesus was teaching. And he was very focused on the world, not on things of Heaven, which is why Jesus rebuked Peter when he said, "God forbid" in response to Jesus' statement that he would be arrested and killed. Peter was impulsive – speaking and reacting before thinking. He cut off the ear of the Roman soldier who was arresting Jesus, as if Jesus couldn’t defend himself. Most people who have hiring authority would not have given Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. But Jesus saw more than an impulsive hothead. He saw a protector. A defender. One who would die for the Truth and would encourage the other disciples after Jesus died. He poured his grace into Peter and made him the leader of the early Church. Peter was a fixer upper.
- The Apostle Paul. Before his name is changed he is Saul. He is zealous for the law. He persecutes and has Christians killed. Even Ananais questioned God when he told him to receive and heal Saul. Ananias couldn’t see the potential. He only saw the present. But Jesus saw in Paul someone who would fight for what he believed in, who would speak boldly about the Truth, who wanted to do what was right. God poured his grace into Saul, changed his name and transformed his life so that he could become the Apostle to the Gentiles. Saul was a fixer upper.
- Mary Magdalene and the woman at the well. Mary Magdalene was possessed by seven demons. I’m pretty sure most people tried to avoid her, just like the woman at the well. They were not worth the trouble. But Jesus saw their potential – saw what their souls could become – and wanted them to become the soul He created them to be. He poured His grace into them. He cast out the demons. Jesus gave Mary the gift of being the first to see him after the resurrection and made the woman at the well an apostle to the Samaritans. We call Mary the apostle to the apostles. Mary Magdalene and the woman at the well were fixer uppers.
- The tax collectors – Matthew, who became an apostle, and Zaccheaus. They were rich but despised by the Jews because of their profession. Jesus saw what they could be and engaged them. He had dinner with them – and their sinful friends. He transformed their lives so they could become the souls they had been created to be. They were fixer uppers.
The Bible is full of fixer uppers. And so is the world today. We are all fixer uppers. Our sin and selfishness and pride damage our souls. God knows that we are damaged; we aren’t perfect. He is fully aware of the money pit that we are. Who else would take a chance on us? Who else would put time and energy into us? Who else would think we were worth saving? Only God!
God says, "You aren’t a money pit. You are a grace pit. And I have endless amounts of grace to lay upon you. I will never run out of grace. I will never get tired of fixing you up. I will never think it’s not worth it, because I know who I created you to be, and it is a beautiful soul. You have potential! Believe me!"
I believe it. Do you? Do you see your soul for what it can become, or do you get bogged down in what it is now and how you fail God? Do you believe that God wants to shower his grace on you? Do you believe that he will never give up or grow weary of throwing grace your way? I hope not.
Maybe you do believe it for yourself. What about for others? The world is filled with fixer uppers. Who are the sinners, prostitutes and tax collectors today – those who the righteous people look down upon but Jesus would dine with?
Is there a person at church whose sins you know – who lives a public life that you think is wrong? How does God see that soul? Does he see their public sin? He knows it’s there and does not dismiss it. But in His great love, He sees their potential. He loves them and wants them to be the best they can be. How can we see people with that same love? Here are three ways:
- Everything starts with prayer. Pray that God will give you the grace to see them with His eyes and with His love. To trust in His plan for their life. They are on the road, journeying just like you. Ask for the grace to love them like He does.
- Seek ways to act with love towards them. Smile when you see them. Aren’t you glad they are at church? Make friends with them. If you spend time with someone, you get to know more than just the outward stuff. Our first impressions are sometimes wrong.
- Look for God in the person. Are they always kind? Do they sing well? Are they fervent or passionate in some area? Maybe their passion is misdirected, but passion is something God uses. Find the good and acknowledge it.
All of these actions – all of our interactions with others – should be done with love. Not to save them; that’s God’s job. We just share God’s love. We plant seeds or water seeds. We love. That’s what God calls us to do. Don’t be afraid of the fixer uppers. God isn’t. Be like God.
Questions to ponder:
- How have I been a fixer upper for God? What potential does He see in my soul?
- Is there a fixer upper in my life who is difficult to love? How can I see them as God does?