For the last two-and-a-half years, the tires on my car have given me great service.  Never a flat.  Rotated and balanced regularly.  Expected treadwear of 48,000 miles/my experience just short of 47,000 miles.  I’m satisfied!

Now, here’s the rub.  No matter how great the treadwear, the time has come when I need to replace these old tires.   Will the new ones be as good as the first set on the car?  What brand is best?  Decisions, decisions.  Solution:  I’m satisfied with the old tires, so I’ll replace them with the same make and grade.   Problem solved.  Replacement scheduled.

Going through this has reminded me of when I used to buy RETREADS to replace worn tires.   It was in the 1960’s and 70’s.  Those were my student years.  After my release from the army, I entered Bridgewater College in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.   We didn’t have student loans in those days.  To pay my way, I served as a part-time student pastor in a circuit of four Methodist churches.  I lived near campus and traveled 35 miles one way to work several times a week.  Talk about treadwear!  I wore down tires quickly.

So I relied on retreads–tires that were processed so that a new tread was bonded onto an old casing.  They weren’t guaranteed for anything like 48,000 miles–but they were cheaper at the time of replacement.  That made sense then. I don’t know if they still make retreaded tires for cars, but I do see remnants of them from trucks and trailers on the highway.  It doesn’t matter–I’m not in the market for that anymore.  I like 48,000 miles!

Come to think of it, tires are not the only places where I’ve had retreads in my life.  Going into the ministry was a retread–I had planned to study architecture when I got out of the Army.  God had other ideas.  I’m glad he did!  So the ministry was a retread.  There were some others.  In the process of getting a liberal arts education I wore out some old ideas and retreaded my thinking with new concepts and understandings.  That continued in seminary–and on through the years that followed.

Another retread came after I retired from the ministry.  I’d been a professional artist alongside my ministry for years, so I decided to retread that into a full-time business, producing and selling my art.  That put a new tread on the old casing of my life, but that wasn’t the end.  A few years ago I dusted off something I’d played with for decades–the idea of writing a novel.  I retreaded my retirement by becoming a writer, and now have three published novels out, along with a non-fiction book I wrote with my wife.  As a writer I think I’m still running on some pretty good tread.

So what’s next?  What will be the next retread?  Maybe it will be the retread of a new body and a fresh life in the awesomeness of God’s eternal grace.  That’s not a retread, however.  It’s a matter of finally getting to the state of being for which I’ve been created from the beginning!  Thanks be to God.

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