Leftover Pieces

0 comments Posted on August 9, 2021

by Justin McRoberts

Pretty much everything falls apart and a whole lot of our best plans don’t work out. There’s very little we can do about that; it’s kinda like gravity that way. But, there is a lot we can do with the pieces we have left over when things don’t go the way we want. I think that’s part of what it means to look and act like Jesus.

Let me tell you the story of how my son and I took an incomplete LEGO set and created something more meaningful and beautiful with it.
Needless to say, we didn’t have it all together. Of the seventy-five pieces that made up the LEGO City Desert Rally Racer, we had only seventy-three. At first, we thought it was our fault. We figured that, in the few minutes since opening the box and emptying the plastic sleeves, we’d lost two bricks. So we spent the next few minutes crawling around on the floor with our faces pushed halfway into the carpet, scanning the terrain for anomalies. Then, we checked our pockets and the folds in our clothes. Nothing. Just in case, we checked the pockets and folds of clothes we had worn the day before. Nothing. Asa (then six years old) boxed up the pieces we did have, pushed his little hands into his pajama-pants pockets, and walked to the window to sulk.

So sulk we did. As I stared out the window, I thought about how much fun Asa and I had building together, which was really the whole point of doing it. I remembered that, most of the time, we weren’t building from a kit; we were just grabbing pieces and assembling from scratch and memory and imagination. It also hit me that seventy-three out of seventy-five is 97 percent. (I didn’t do that math in my head, neither in the moment itself nor in writing about it—I used a calculator. #EnglishMajor.) That 97 percent is a better score than I ever got on anything during my entire scholastic career, so I knew we had a lot to work from.

I turned away from the window and started running my fingers through a pile of older LEGO pieces; some were from previously disassembled kits and some were just random bricks. Asa knelt beside me. “What are you doing?” “I’m gonna finish this thing!”

If Jesus could work with 92 percent of the original plan after Judas sold him out, I knew we’d be able to create something magical with 97 percent.

Asa took one last sip of his water and started sifting through bricks with me. We found pieces that weren’t perfect but just might work.

We tinkered
and built
and laughed
and disassembled
and talked
and planned
and tinkered
and built . . .

and when we were finished, it didn’t look much at all like the picture on the box. In fact, a lot of the bricks that had originally come in the kit were still on the carpet, unused. And it was perfect just as it was. Well, that’s not true, actually. It was not at all perfect. It was something better than perfect; it was something we loved.

Every day you wake up, God has granted you the opportunity to turn a negative or undesirable situation into a positive and an opportunity. Part of what it means to be an image bearer is that you and I get to take what we’ve been given and help make things new.

Things fall apart and go sideways regularly. That’s the nature of the world we live in. But the Nature and character of God is revealed when we don’t settle for “it is what it is” and, instead, choose to make something with what we’ve been given. I think we look like Jesus when we do.

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