Every day, every week, HGTV and other DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Channels host programs starring Property Brothers (Drew & Jonathon), or Love it or List it (Hillary & David). Then there are the heart-warming shows that take you into people’s lives like Complete Home Makeover with Ty Pennington, who would invite you to say, “Move that bus” or Chip and Joanna Gaines reveal where a lucky couple sees a giant-sized picture of what their old house looked like before they’re asked, “Would you like to see your Fixer Upper?”

We like to see the difference a makeover can do, but it’s more than just houses & landscaping. We like to see people who go through a weight-loss program on Biggest Loser or Shedding for the Wedding. Or maybe we prefer the wardrobe makeover or even a career adjustment from Undercover Boss. I believe that one of the reasons these shows are so popular is that they remind us that so many things in life have hidden potential, and we enjoy watching as something is carefully moved from trash to treasure.

Sometime back, I conducted a wedding for a couple who were at the altar for the second time. For them, however, it was the second time only because after a long, healthy marriage, they had outlived their spouse. Thomas had been married to Jeanie for 58 years and Janet had been married to Henry for 52 years. When we sat down to begin pre - marital counseling, I mentioned how I usually do four sessions before weddings. Before I finished my sentence, Thomas interrupted to say, “Ed, we have 110 years experience in marriage,” and as his smile grew wider, he concluded, “I think we’ve got this.” I poked back and said, “But Thomas, Janet said she thought you needed it.”

Since we both were kidding, we all agreed that we needed only this and one more session the week of the wedding, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. For me, I was so glad to see a couple whose lives and relationships were “faith-based,” meaning Christ came first in everything. For them, my session on the service of Holy Matrimony, the things we do and say, and more importantly the reasons why we do and say them, helped Thomas and Janet discover the depth of every element in that 25 minute ceremony where “the two shall become one flesh.” By carefully spending time with each other — listening, learning and loving — all three of us discovered treasures we’d not noticed before.

Jesus had a keen eye for potential, which I believe is why he so carefully spent time with the least, the last, and the lost. He not only accepted them; he embraced them. And his followers for the last two - thousand years — from reserved, doubting disciples to the first international missionaries, from no - name, blue - collar fishermen to the namesake of great basilicas — urge us to notice the hidden potential in others. And, for us as the Church, to claim our critical job of carefully helping them discover the treasure their life represents. As new people walk into our midst, we pray that you’ll have a keen eye for potential, will spend time with these people and help them and us all move toward that faith - based life that brings out God’s very best for us all. Hope to see you Sunday and before.

Sincerely glad to serve Christ alongside you: Ed, Lea and the First UMC Family