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The John Deere Tractor

by Tim Brown

A number of years ago, back when I was preaching for a little church in DeKalb County, I had the privilege of being able to participate in a very special moment in the lives of one of our church families.

One of our elders at the time had an old John Deere tractor that he had inherited from his father. It was a special tractor that had been in their family for many years. In fact I remember seeing some old photographs showing the elder when he was just a child of 2 or 3 years old, sitting on his father's knee on that old tractor. Needless to say, the family had a lot of fond memories of that tractor.

As you would imagine from over 40 years of good or farmer wear and tear, by the time the tractor had been passed down to the grandson, it was in pretty bad shape. Most of the body had rusted out. The front grill was bent and twisted. The characteristic John Deere green and yellow had faded and was now barely visible. And the seat, which in the picture showed the elder sitting on his father's knee, was all but disintegrated. It was a sad sight to see. When the grandson inherited the tractor, not only did it not run, but it looked nothing like it did from its former glory days.

But as I said earlier, that day was going to be a special day for this family. As it turned out, some years earlier, the grandson had started a restoration project on that old tractor. Slowly over time, the man literally replaced, refurbished, and restored every part and piece of the tractor. The celebration that I had been invited to was the day when the grandson, in honor of his father and grandfather, would put the
key in for the first time, and start it up. It was literally the first time this tractor had run in over 40 years!

As the man rolled the tractor out from his garage, the transformation was amazing! The tractor looked brand new! No rust, no dents, new yellow seat. The classic green and yellow paint job was flawless. It looked incredible. The proud grandson was beaming as he put the key in and turned the ignition. The tractor started without hesitation and hummed as if to say, I'm ready to work!

As I watched the elder sit his great-grandson on his knee and take a picture with him on this newly restored tractor, just as his father had done with him many decades earlier, I realized that what I had just experienced was not unlike my own experience when it came to transformation and renewal in Christ.

When we first come to Christ, we come to him spiritually worn out and in shambles, rusty, tired, and not working properly. When we look at scripture, especially Genesis, we see a picture of what our glory days used to be like, as we walked with God in the Garden of Eden, pure and perfect, without sin. But now we are a far cry from the beauty of what we once were.

But when I accept Christ and come to him, the Bible says I am fully restored, made whole, and made new. I am, on one hand, already complete in Christ, a new creature in him, but on the other hand, in a very real way, I am also a life-long project in him.

Every day, little by little, God is in the process of restoring me, making me new, and helping me to be what I was originally built for in the first place, before all the years of "wear and tear." The Bible calls this the process of transformation.

And even though today I am in far better shape than I was when I first came to Christ, I cannot wait for the day when the great unveiling will take place when everyone will finally see the end result of what a life restored by Christ looks like.


But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:20, 21


And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18


Tim Brown is minister of the Gallatin Church of Christ, Gallatin, TN.

This article was taken from The Lamplighter News & Notes.


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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10