A new look for an old barn

By Gerry Lewis | Published Wednesday, August 14, 2013

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The uptight spinster was offended by the appearance of some of the younger women at church. They were a little heavy on the makeup and needed some correction. On a particular Sunday, several of them were gathered in the foyer when the pastor walked by.

“Pastor,” she intoned, “do you think it is appropriate for women to wear makeup in the house of the Lord?”

With a twinkle in his eye, the pastor answered, “Well, I think any old barn would look better with a fresh coat of paint.”

I am not writing about makeup, but I do have a barn project going on. It is not actually a barn, but the joke would have lost something if I used the term “workshop/junk storage facility.” Mine is a 32×16 freestanding garage that was in our backyard when we bought the place 22 years ago. It needed to be painted then. I didn’t do it. Nor have I done it since.

When we finished construction on our Sweetie Suite last year, including the great 37×10 porch for sitting and enjoying the view out back, Mrs. Sweetie indicated (sweetly, I must add) that her viewing pleasure was diminished by my ugly “shop.”

I would like to say that I got right on it, but I figure when you’ve waited 22 years, there’s no rush. That’s what I figured. I figured wrong.

To make a long story shorter, I have spent the past several weekends covering the outside with metal that we had left from our remodel. I almost have the walls done and the roof is next. During all that hot work, I have had plenty of time to ponder. Here are a few of my top ponderings:

1. There is something strangely invigorating about doing something that you know makes someone else happy. That is not to say that Mrs. Sweetie is not generally happy with me. That is to say that she is REALLY enjoying the view now. Her smile makes all my sweat worthwhile.

2. There is something particularly gratifying about repurposing old materials. I could have hired it done with new metal, but … why? I’m physically able to do it, the metal was already here and it continues our theme of putting old stuff to new use. As I get older, I hope God continues to put me to new use.

3. Pleasing on the outside doesn’t guarantee effectiveness on the inside. I have some great tools and am working on creating great space to use them. None of that matters if I don’t actually do something in there. Life is that way, too. A new coat of paint may make an old barn look good, but barns aren’t meant for looking.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10).

Our lives matter to God. What new use does He have for you?

Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association headquartered in Decatur.

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