One of my wife’s favorite movies is, “The Shop Around the Corner” starring Jimmy Stewart. If you have never seen this great old film, a more modern adaptation is the movie, “You’ve Got Mail”, with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
One of the reasons we like the Jimmy Stewart version is because it is set in Budapest in the 1930’s. Every time we take a mission team to Romania, we fly in and out of Budapest, Hungary. The day before we head home, we take each group to Budapest for a time of sight-seeing and it is always a good time of fellowship. Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and everyone enjoys our time there.
Several years ago, while walking around the Castle Hill district of Budapest, Lisa and I discovered a unique little shop around the corner from Saint Matthias Church. To reach this particular shop, you have to walk through an archway that leads to a large courtyard that is lined with shops and cafes. After you walk through the archway, you almost immediately turn to the left and walk through an ancient looking door that leads to a downward winding stairway. At the bottom of the stairway you find yourself in a tiny shop that is filled with antiques of all kinds. There is hardly enough room to walk around. Shelves and display cases are filled with antique jewelry, coins, military medals, books, and hundreds of other items. Some of the items may be a few decades old, while others may have been made several hundred years ago.
The shop is managed by a young man who oversees the business for his father. One of the things that has always amazed me is that no matter what item you pick up and ask about, the son knows the story behind every single piece. I have always enjoyed it when he tells me the stories behind the treasures. He knows the story behind each item because his father sends him all over the country to redeem them. Some of the things are in a rough condition when he purchases them. However, once in his shop, they are cleaned and put on display so that others might enjoy their beauty and worth.
In some ways, this is our story. The Father sent His Son to redeem us. Jesus, however, did not redeem us with gold or silver or with the corruptible things of this world, but with His own precious blood. ( 1 Peter 1:18-19) We are His trophies of grace. You and I are, in a sense, on display before a lost and dying world. The world needs to see what the Lord can do in a life that has been transformed by the Master’s hands.
You and I are not hidden away in a little shop, but as Paul wrote, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor; sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:20-21)
Jesus knows our story and He loves us anyway. He purchased us anyway. He placed us in His great house when He cleansed us from our sins. He has made us His treasure and His trophies of grace, not to remain on a shelf, but to be a vessels of honor, sanctified, useful for His purposes and glory, and prepared for every good work that He chooses for us. By His grace, may we be vessels of honor that are a blessing to others and that bring honor and glory to the One who redeemed us.
In Christ’s service,