“Picking Up Nails!”
By Pastor Ron Buxton
It was a regular routine for my wife and I during our earliest married years. We’d go for long walks in the cool of the evening. It provided both conversation and exercise. And it was during that time that my wife observed me doing something that initially made her pretty uncomfortable. No. It wasn’t something (of the many awkward social behaviors of most men) that husbands can do. But it did at first really bother her. You see, I would pick up nails, screws, and other road hazards along the roadside as we walked. To me, I was just being a Good Samaritan to somebody’s tires later on. Basically, it was a “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you” behavior. However, it embarrassed my wife as my pockets filled with old rusty nails and screws every time that we went out walking.
Even finding those nails was strange to me. Why? Because most construction in this region of the world doesn’t utilize many nails. Instead, construction is mostly brick, block, and cement. And so, it seemed strange to frequently see so many discarded nails. Now, you’re probably thinking that I think too much. But I’m about to make a point here. You see, recently, I picked up some discarded nails on my daily bike ride and it got me to thinking. The most important event in human history involved the use of nails. I am talking about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. However, those nails were not discarded. They were actually chosen by Him. And that became the title of a book by Max Lucado in 2005.
Most people know that nails are used to affix things together–especially wood. And, as you might know, it was three Roman nails that fastened Jesus to that wooden cross almost 2000 years ago. But allow me to spiritualize what those three nails represented. By my simple analogy, those three ugly nails are: sin, death, and hell. And those are nails requiring more than a tetanus shot if they afflict you. Seriously, they can destroy you eternally.
Paradoxically, the nails that fastened Christ to the cross were not meant to be constructive but destructive. However, they would miraculously serve a purpose that many people even fail to recognize today. That is, their destructive application actually joined a holy God with sinful mankind!
Folks, for our salvation, Christ “picked up” those three nails. They need not afflict us anymore. In fact, He took those destructive, ugly nails and made them into the most constructive (and redemptive) element in all of human history! But far too many people are oblivious to that. And that’s why I write articles like this. And so, the next time that you see a discarded nail along the roadside, please remember the One who took the nails for you! Moreover, if you spot me picking up nails along the road you’ll know what I’m thinking about. And know that I’m praying for you to know that also.