I remember reading once that wood furniture needs the moisture of polishing because, unlike a tree planted in soil, it can no longer obtain nourishment and vitality on its own. It needs an outside source to come and provide it with those things. Just like the heat and cold, dryness and moisture of the outdoors affects the strength and beauty of trees, even in a controlled environment that maintains a relatively average temperature, wood needs "umph" (that's the technical term) that a little polishing can bring.
We've had our dining room furniture since we married, so it's had about eight years worth of neglect in this department. But, my hope chest, which was a gift from a precious lady in my church, I've had since I was at least 17. So, for more than 16 years, the trunk has survived countless moves, numerous bumps, dents and scratches, the torture of storage, being a seat for weary bodies, and stuffed with all manner of things. Today's polishing was the first it's ever received, to the best of my knowledge. It soaked up the polish with a craving that can only be compared to the thirst we feel in the July Texas sun. I was amazed at the luster and beauty that shown through the wood when those healing properties were poured out and rubbed into it. It seemed to be smiling and saying, "Thank you!"
Are we like that thirsty chest, desperate for the touch of God in our lives to heal and draw out our beauty? It doesn't mean we have to have endured 16 years of neglect to be that thirsty, but do we even desire it? Are we content to be a functional piece, not a cared for and protected one? Unlike me, God anxiously waits to lavish his attention on those who belong to him (see 1 John 3:1). The Psalmist describes it this way:
Blessed is the one whose delight is in the Lord. That one is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit at the right time and doesn't wither (Psalm 1:2-3).
That tree is never thirsty, because it's so near the source of life and sustenance. While it will probably be another 10 years (at least) before I remember to polish my furniture, God wants to polish us and nurture us in his care to become conformed to the image of his Son. And that's an amazing finish.
I must say, I do have one problem with this polishing thing, though. My hand looks like I did a rotten job of giving myself a sunless tan.