When a bespoke tailor rolls out fine wool cloth on the table to cut pieces for a handmade suit, he marks the pattern with chalk, then picks up his shears.

           Even though the tailor lays out the patterns for the suit as efficiently as possible on the cloth, there will always be scraps left over. Depending on their size, the scraps and leftovers can still be used—for pocket flaps, or pants cuffs. Fine fabric is expensive, so the goal is to use every piece. In a similar fashion, every piece of our scraps—mistakes—in life have value. 

The Scraps of Our Lives

           Think about it: If a tailor is fashioning a handmade suit for which his client will pay good money, the fabric will be extremely valuable. No tailor approaches the cutting table with the intent to waste a valuable piece of cloth with an ill-marked pattern or a slip of the shears. But it happens. Tailors are human.

           And so are we. We don’t say, “I’m going to turn today into scrap; I’m going to intentionally waste the hours that are valuable in God’s sight by sinning or making poor choices.” But it happens. Each of us have our own scraps. They are pieces of the fabric of life we were working with. We wish we could cut the pattern for our life so carefully that there were never any leftovers—but we can’t. 

           Look at King David. For too long he planned to take Uriah’s wife, then have her loyal husband killed. Then for nearly a year he concealed his sins until he was confronted by Nathan the prophet (2 Samuel 11–12). A year consigned to scraps—by his own choosing.

           Were David’s sins different from our own? More serious, more widely known, and more premeditated? Yes, on all counts. But we, too, have our own personal scrap pile—cuts in the cloth we wish we could do over. And it’s not just sins. It’s honest mistakes, errors in judgment, bad choices and decisions, broken dreams—just because they’re not actual sins doesn’t mean those parts of our life don’t end up in the scrap pile.

           The mistake we make is thinking that those scraps don’t have value.

Every Scrap Has Value

           Think of the most valuable fabric in the world. Silk? Cashmere? If a tailor saves these types of scraps because of their value, how much more valuable are the “scraps” of our life? No goat or silkworm is created in the image of God, but we are. God created us for a purpose; therefore, every part of our life has value in His sight—even the times we wish we could do over.

           Have you ever been encouraged by the reading of Psalm 51—David’s psalm of repentance following his disastrous episode with Bathsheba and Uriah? Have you ever prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (verse 10)? If so, you are praying words that were forged due to David’s guilt and remorse over his choices—words that are of great instruction and encouragement for us today.

           David also wrote Psalm 139, the psalm about God’s omnipresence. Here David’s words confess that God is everywhere, seeing and knowing everything—words that have become a comfort and inspiration to us as we look for the value in our own scraps. We must remember: Every one of our scraps has value to the Master Tailor in His grand design!

Save Your Scraps for the Master Tailor!

           If we aren’t to throw our scraps away, what should we do with them? Certainly not to render them useless. Instead, there is a “godly sorrow [that] produces repentance” (2 Corinthians 7:10)—which is what we should do: repent and be useful!

           If we have sinned, we need to repent. If we are discouraged over a foolish mistake, we need to seek the Master Tailor. The scraps we thought represented a wasted moment in our life will become something God can use to make us wiser, more disciplined, and more appreciative of His grace, mercy, and forgiveness—and make us more willing to extend the same to others (Ephesians 4:32).

           God, the Master Tailor, wants to use every moment in our life for His glory. If you will pick up the pieces and save your scraps for Him, the garment He fashions for your life will be more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church and the founder and host of Turning Point for God. For more information about Dr. Jeremiah or Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.