• Stefan Youngblood

Wanted: “As-is” People


If you type the term, “As-is” into the small search box on Craigslist, thousands of random things will show up. Chairs, computers, cars, houses, mattresses…basically anything you can think of, someone’s selling in “As-is” condition. Well, shopping for a used motorcycle, I figured I’d start there. A “fixer-upper.” I sold my last bike, “As–is“ after a small encounter with the pavement…in the church parking lot. The pavement won. My prize? A broken arm, 2 cracked ribs, and a bruised ego. I’ve since learned that if you want to ride on one wheel…get a unicycle.

Bedsides “As-is,” people use terms like, “Great condition,” “Fair condition,” “Good condition,” and every now and then, “Never used. Like new.” I suppose that’s the same as “Showroom condition.” My friend Dave often tells me the story of the one Christmas when his older brother cleaned off an old socket set, attached a bow and a handwritten tag which read, “Brand New.” It didn’t matter that several sockets were missing. Sounds like something my older brother would’ve done.

Often times at The Gathering, “As-is” happens. Masks drop, hearts are softened, and the Almighty Father reaches down and says, “I want YOU…As-Is.” My response at times has been, “Are you sure about that? I have blemishes, bruises, scars, and too many imperfections to count,” as if He didn’t already know all that.

Jesus says, “The first will be last, and the last will become first. The one who exalts himself will be humbled and the humble will be exalted.” In essence, “I’ll take that dirty socket set, missing pieces, and make it,”Brand New.” Hubert writes, “God will not look you over for medals or diplomas, but scars.” I think our scars, when used by God, qualify us to speak to others with grace and compassion in ways that book knowledge and “appearing” holy never will.

Interestingly, the one place you will find, “Brand new,” “Never Used,” and “Showroom condition,” is a newborn nursery, not the pews on Sunday morning. Many avoid church for just that reason. God’s interested in “As-is,” but I don’t know whether churches are. The good news is #1: God will never leave us as we are. He’s always doing His refining work, and #2: We can be real, leaving the shiny image home, and admitting our, “As-is-ness.” Not lazily staying as is, but realizing God, knowing every blemish, loves us 100%, “As-is.”. Instead of hiding flaws and imperfections, confessing them, trusting His hand to refine and renew. Check your tag today, He may have torn off the, “As-is,”tag and handwritten, “Brand New.”

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