In 1994, a band called “The Halo Benders” recorded an album entitled “God Don’t Make No Junk.” The phrase has been around a long time, perhaps 40 years or more. From a Providence Presbyterian pastor’s sermon: “It was initially made popular by a Presbyterian minister from Hammond, Louisiana named Herb Barks.” In 1972, the phrase concluded a message: “Believe it, you are a real find, a joy in someone’s heart. You’re a jewel, unique and priceless. I don’t care how you feel. Believe it, God don’t make no junk.”
Bad grammar, good Gospel.
Kim and I watched a segment on 60 Minutes last night. It featured the Recycled Orchestra, a group of desperately poor children and youth who have been given hope and purpose through music. They live in Cateura, Paraguay in an environment of poverty that is both staggering and disheartening. The town developed around a landfill. The residents comb through mounds of garbage, looking for something to sell or reclaim. A man who lives next to the dump, Don Cola, began transforming trash into musical instruments and giving them to the young people who lived in the village.
He had never seen a violin or heard one being played but he crafted one out of a bake pan and a paint can. His workshop began to turn out other instruments from discarded pipe, bottle caps, keys, wire, and other assorted materials. Kids who had never touched a clarinet, a guitar, or a cello were learning classical music. They were taught lessons and played in concerts. They have been on tour with their recycled instruments, playing alongside big-name musicians in the US and Europe.
One grandmother explained that God had blessed those who had so little with a dream to have a better life. Watching those children clutching their recycled instruments as they headed to rehearsals, carefully avoiding the stinking trench of raw sewage, was humbling. These kids had become trophies in the midst of trash.
God don’t make no junk. He can take what looks hopeless and useless and give it meaning and purpose. He can take a life that is thrown on to the trash heap of life and redeem and restore it. He specializes in turning cracked pots into beautiful vessels. Give Him a chance.