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.