Contributing Writer: Leslie Foster from Ponderings of an Ohio Farm Girl
Because I grew up on a farm, our version of “taking out the trash” meant taking everything that wasn’t in the compost pile or the recycling barrel out to the burn barrel between the barns. It wasn’t until I was in grad school that I lived in a place where garbage men came and collected my trash.
As a 26-year-old, I experienced for the first time the magic of garbage collection. In case you live on a farm, too, here’s how it works:
Step 1: gather up all the crap you don’t want
Step 2: put the crap together in a trashcan. don’t worry if it’s smelly and nasty
Step 3: put the trashcan out by the road.
Step 4: come back a couple of hours later and the crap is GONE!
I mean, just think about it. Someone comes along and takes away all your garbage. This is the stuff you don’t want. It’s broken, or dirty, or smelly. Some times rotten or even dangerous. But the unseen garbage man doesn’t seem to mind. He is an equal opportunity crap remover. As long as you follow the steps, he will faithfully remove your cast-off junk, no questions asked. He never bothers to criticize your excessiveness, or question your poor judgment. He never leaves something behind because it smells too bad or is too terrible. It’s just gone. All your garbage is gone.
Know what the magic of garbage collection reminds me of? Jesus’ forgiveness. Jesus is just like the magical garbage man. Or should we call him the miraculous garbage man? He, too, takes your crap in all its broken, dirty, smelly rottenness and he just makes it disappear. Gone forever. You’ll never see it again. And just like our trusty garbage men, Jesus doesn’t judge your crap. You’ve got nothing to put out by the road that He won’t get rid of for you. There’s no sin too rotten or smelly or dangerous or shameful.
It’s not that Jesus likes your garbage. Let’s be really clear about that. He hates it. I mean, really, really hates it, like with the fire of a thousand burning suns. But for as much as he hates your sin, He loves you even more. And so, he came to earth and lived a perfect life, showing us the way to live, and then died a death He didn’t deserve and arose, defeating death and sin.
So what’s it gonna be? Will you accept Jesus’ offer to remove your crap? Will you let Him forgive you and love you and take control of your life? If you will, you won’t regret it. I promise. After all, why would you want to keep your garbage? Let Jesus work his garbage-collecting in your life. And if you’ve already accept the forgiveness of Christ, I hope that this week when you put out your garbage, you are reminded of the miracle of salvation. It’s really pretty great.
image via Flickr-P. Gordon, Jocelyn Catterson