Keith Wishum: Tired of seeing it that way?

Published 5:00 pm Sunday, March 1, 2015

What do you see when you look at a used tire? Does it look useless to you? What good is it? You can only use so many swings in your yard, after all. So useless are used tires that we pay to have someone throw them away for us.

Chad Foster saw things a bit differently, however. Foster, who himself seemed a bit useless at one point as a 19-year-old unemployed college dropout, went to work for a company selling and installing tennis courts. Along the way, he saw a need for a soft, pliable material to be used for playground surfaces.

At 27, Foster saw a used tire. Probably not the first one he had encountered, but he saw this one differently. He now saw it as the key to making a new playground material. He went to work grinding up tires and experimenting to find the right bonding agent to hold the pieces together.

Five years later, Chad Foster retired a rich man. He made his fortune selling those soft surfaces you have seen at fast food restaurants playgrounds. He became wealthy because he saw value in something that you and I see as trash.

How does your world look to you today? Sometimes we get frustrated with our jobs and nothing about them seems good. At times, we lose patience with our spouses or children and everything they do seems wrong. And then everything we own starts to break down — the car won’t start, the faucet drips, and — worst of all calamities — the TV remote is missing.

Let me encourage you to look again at your seemingly worn-out, used life. See it in light of what God says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Notice that he suggests that “in everything” there is reason to be thankful, even in situations that cause you to pray for change. In other words, there is some good somewhere in your used tire. Find it, and be thankful for it. That’s a big part of the “secret of being content in any and every situation” (Philippians 4:12).

Chad Foster got rich from other people’s rejects. Before you throw away part of your life, look closely at it again. It may be more valuable than you think.

Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church. Americus.