The Dirty Little Radio
By Towera Nyirenda
- It is often said that, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison.” Could it be also said that, “one man’s little dirty radio could be one boy’s newfound treasure?”
I found that out to be true.
Jeremiah, the first-born son to one of my closest friends, is a delight. Every now and again when I have a chance, I go pick him up from school to give his mother a much needed break. On one of the trips where I had to pick him up, we came across one of my friends who was moving. This friend asked little Jeremiah if he wanted a radio because he had an extra one to give away. With little hesitation Jeremiah agreed. I was tasked to go get the radio from our friend’s garage for Jeremiah.
While driving to this friend’s house, I envisioned a small, shinny, clean, state-of-the-art radio for my little excited Jeremiah. I could picture him listening to his radio in the comfort of his room. As we got closer to the house, our excitement grew for our newfound treasure.
When we arrived, I went into the garage and looked for the radio. I searched around, but could not see it, or so I thought. Then I saw a small, black, scratched, dirty radio in the left corner of the garage. I showed Jeremiah the radio, but he was too excited to notice the condition of the radio.
Our fifteen-minute ride home was filed with excitement from Jeremiah because of his newfound treasure.
When we arrived at their home, Jeremiah showed his mother his “new” radio. His mother, like I, saw that the radio was old and dirty, and the time one would spend cleaning it would translate into the same amount of time it would take to buy a new one from Wal-Mart. The radio would have to be thrown away.
I was supportive of the decision. Jeremiah was heart broken. But after much convincing, he gave in because the idea of getting a new one seemed great. "Good for him," I thought, as I said my goodbyes and went my merry way.
Two days later, I went to baby sit Jeremiah’s little sisters and lo and behold, the old, dirty radio was still there. I wondered why they had not thrown it away. I figured that on my way out I would do them the favor and put it in the garbage.
I had an hour to spare, and for some reason, while the little ones slept, I picked up that old, dirty radio and placed it in the sink.
I thought to myself, “Let me clean this radio.”
As I began cleaning, I sensed the Lord ministering to me -- shockingly enough, using the dirty radio. The word "potential" came to mind. The radio still had the "potential" to function like a brand new radio, even though it was dirty.
"Potential, HUH?" I thought to myself.
How often do we disregard “someone” because they are “dirty” and they do not seem to have potential? How quick are we to cast them away because we are so accustomed to the “clean and shiny?" The potential for the radio to play was intact. All one had to do was to spend some time and wipe it down for it to do the thing it was required to do.
Granted, if the radio was not cleaned, it would ruin all the tapes and CDs that came into its path. It had to be cleaned in order to operate at its highest level.
Jesus took the time to identify and clean up people because He saw their potential. Such an example is seen with the woman at the well in John 4: 1-44.
Having lived a life that was marred with loneliness, heartache, and judgment, Jesus took the time to minister to this woman -- this was His ministry and His passion. "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.” Because He took the time to want to see her clean, her testimony changed an entire city when she became clean.
Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I have ever done." So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.’ (vs. 39-41, NRSV)
As I took my time to clean the radio, I saw how God takes the time to clean us up when we are dirty. He never gives up on us. He is forever getting out His sponge and cleaning every particle of dirt because He loves us and knows that when clean, we can operate to our maximum potential.
When cleaned, we can affect a generation, change a life, bring about transformation in a community, and do the impossible. However, it is the dirt that stays in us that prevents us from operating at our fullest potential. Galatians 5:19-21 identifies some of the dirt that can hold one back from operating in their fullest potential.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21, NRSV)
May we allow the Lord to clean us up each day and may we never give up on people when they are “dirty” because they have the same potential like a brand new radio. All they need is someone to believe in them -- because we know that God does.
Suffice it to say, when Jeremiah came back that day and saw his cleaned up radio, he was very excited; he went to his room and took out his favorite CD and played his music as he danced along to its tune!!! WOW!
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Towera Nyirenda is pursuing her Doctor of Ministry at Regent University. After she graduates in 2008 she intends to minister in her native Zambia.
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