You never knew when my wife was going to have one of her attacks. No, it wasn’t a medical condition; it used to happen as we were driving through our neighborhood on garbage night. Suddenly she’d go, “Stop! Wait!” And I’d say, “What’s the matter?” And she’d say, “Look at that chair.” Actually it was the remains of a chair, broken, pretty gross I thought. And then she’d say, “Hey, let’s take it.” I think there’s a name for that. Garbage picking, right? Yeah.

Well, of course, my sons were in the back seat. They’d just roll their eyes and go, “Oh, no, Mom. Please, please don’t do this to us.” Well, the only compromise we ever worked out is that she would allow us to come back after it was dark when no one could see us. That was merciful. Do this by cover of night.

Now, a couple of weeks later, and this happened many times, I’d come in the house and say, “Hey, that’s a beautiful chair! Where’d you get that? Where’d you get the money for it?” And she’d say, “There wasn’t any money. Remember that chair we got out of the garbage?” Well, yeah, my wife was a garbage picker, but she could look at some old piece of furniture and she could see something the rest of us just don’t see.

I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Garbage Picker Vision.”

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 1, and I’m going to begin reading at verse 40 early in the ministry of the Lord Jesus. “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two men who had heard what John the Baptist had said and who had followed Jesus. Now, the first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah (that is, the Christ).’ And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas (which, when translated, is Peter).'”

Now, maybe you know that that’s the word for rock. Honestly, I don’t think that’s what other people saw when they saw Peter. They saw Simon, they saw kind of a flaky, erratic kind of guy. You know, they’d go through the neighborhood and say, “Well, Peter’s a… you know, he’s kind of unpredictable, you never know what he’s going to say. He puts his foot in his mouth.” But when Jesus looked at him, He saw a rock.

I was privileged to be married to someone who could see past what was broken and ugly. That’s why we stopped for things other people had thrown away. She would see what it could be and she made it into something beautiful and useful. See, that was the wonderful vision Jesus saw through His eyes when He looked at people. Some people saw John, the son of thunder, but Jesus said, “I’m going to make him the apostle of love.” Some people saw Mary Magdalene, a demon possessed perhaps prostitute, but Jesus said, “I see a loyal, devoted follower of Christ here.”

See, a lot of people saw in Zacchaeus garbage, greed, and dishonesty, but Jesus saw the potential of a man who could be a “somebody” by giving instead of taking. And He looks at you like that. Maybe others can only see what’s broken in you, ugly in you, but He sees what you can be. He sees what you’re created to be. He wants us to develop that “garbage picker” vision like He has too.

To be a parent who can look past the garbage that your child might be giving out and see what he could be. Tell them about their potential, not just their problems. To see in a friend or a leader or a helper someone who could be more than they are. Don’t just say, “You’re a mess.” Say, “Do you know what? You’re better than this, man. I see in you a treasure that God created. I see under that mask a sensitive person, an insightful person, I see a leader, I see a listener, I see a potential fighter for what’s right. Whatever potential God gives you to see in them, tell them.

Somewhere near you is an assignment with a name; someone waiting for another person to see the Peter, the rock, in them. Stop for someone that others might be walking past or even throwing away or trashing. Pick them up and patiently build them into all they were meant to be.