Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

I saw a tall sign the other day that caught my eye. It must have been a couple of hundred feet high. It was one of those with an interchangeable message board. Except this one didn’t change. I think it was programmed to scroll the same message 24/7 in big red letters across its digital piece of sky like an airplane pulling a banner over the beach. I think the astronauts could see this message from outer space!

It was the size of the sign that caught my attention first. But then I read its message that was seen every day by hundreds, maybe thousands, of people speeding by on that busy highway. A ‘sign of the times,’ one might say. Our merry-go-round world is spinning so fast that you have to shout long and loud to be heard in all the clutter and noise.

But the message on the sign by the side of that busy four-lane highway kept bouncing around inside my two-lane, dirt-road brain long after I had passed it. In four-foot high letters, the message had two words – LIFETIME GUARANTEE!

Guarantee is another one of those words that we toss around rather loosely. I can’t think of one single thing that we thought was important back home on the farm that’s still around today. I always thought our children would absolutely flip over flipper hubcaps and fender skirts. Helen thought she’d be wearing saddle oxfords and poodle skirts when the grandkids came to see her.

That’s not to say that there weren’t a couple of things at Route 4 that lasted a long time. But nothing, I’ve come to believe, lasts forever. We had a big old tree stump that we burned and chopped on for years. Even tried to hook a logging chain to Daddy’s pulpwood truck and pull that stump out of the ground. But its roots ran way too deep.

And what about those Osh-Kosh-By-Gosh overalls? They seemed to last forever as they were passed down from brother to brother to brother. Mother would sew up the holes in the pockets and in the knees. And other ‘locations’ would need patching, especially after too many lessons at the woodshed. But they, too, would eventually wear out. And when something would break, tear up, or wear out, the grownups would always say, ‘they just don’t make ‘em like they used to.’

Even the tires that I thought were guaranteed for sixty-thousand miles became tree swings for the grandkids long before they reached their ‘guaranteed age.’ Many products today don’t even carry a guarantee anymore. Some call it a warranty. And it only lasts for six months. But you can pay extra and get the ‘extended warranty.’ But that’s usually only good for a year. And if you read the small print, you’ll most likely see the word ‘limited.’

Not even life itself lasts forever. We’re not even guaranteed our next breath! How’s that for the guarantee of a lifetime! And even if we make it to three-score-and-ten, every living creature will eventually face the expiration of his or her ‘earthly’ lifetime guarantee.

And when that guarantee runs out, what then? What’s important is how we’re running the race before time is called. And as God adds years to our life, let’s pray that He’ll also add life to our years! That’s when it becomes crucial that we have an ‘out-of-this-world guarantee. And we do. It’s called God’s Word. The old folks used to believe that a man’s word was his bond. And rightly so. But, sadly, even that can be broken or forgotten. But God’s Word lasts forever – however long that might be.

 Just before His time on earth ran out, Jesus made a lifetime guarantee to comfort His disciples. And it was a ‘blanket guarantee’ that includes you and me (John 14:1-3). The wording in His guarantee is easy to understand – no fine print. Trust in God – trust in Jesus. He said He’s gone away for awhile to prepare a place for us. And while He’s gone, He’s preparing us for that place. So don’t worry or fret (‘let not your hearts be troubled’) if things don’t last or go our way down here on earth. He promised His disciples, and you and me, that He will come back and take us to that place that He’s preparing so we can all be together. He said He’s coming back – and He’ll be back. I guarantee you that! That’s what I call a LIFETIME-HEREAFTER-GUARANTEE!

And the smartest minds in the world can’t even come close to imagining what that guarantee holds for us. Don’t take my word for it. Check out 1 Corinthians 2:9. ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.’

And it’s all paid for in advance. Jesus wrote the check and signed the guarantee.