GET EXCITED TO CLEAN THE GARBAGE CANS!
Who knew there is such a great lessons in doing something as simple as cleaning out a garbage can.
This morning at church, I had the opportunity to wash a few garbage cans. These cans were the large 55 gallon type, not little office or kitchen garbage cans, but the big industrial size. These cans can hold large amounts of garbage at once or sometimes hold nothing but empty boxes no one took the time to break down before tossing.
A garbage can is one of those things in life we all use yet we seldom give much thought to unless it is stinky, full and needing to be emptied.
My steps to clean a garbage can.
As I start to clean a garbage can, first thing to do is empty it. Usually there is a black garbage bag full of all types of discarded objects…food scraps, papers, empty this or that. Yet sometimes there is an item in the can that was still good, still had life to it. Even though it was still good and useful when tossed, once the item is tainted by the rest of the garbage, out it goes.
After I empty the can, I am left with a dirty shell, empty, yet still dirty. After a good soak, things will start to come lose and a few things may take elbow grease to get the yuck to move. Eventually it gives way to a clean can.
Wait, don’t forget the lid. The top is dusty, the underside is dirty, crusted with who knows what and it too will need a soaking and scrub.
The final step in garbage can cleanliness is to wash the outside and make it look like new, which is impossible. Once used, the garbage can will clearly be seen as a garbage can but never pristine.
So what lesson is there in a garbage can?
The garbage can reminds me of my Christian walk with Jesus. When He first called me to Him, I was just like these garbage cans. Full of yuck and dirt, crusted with all types of contamination. Then He washed me out.
The steps He took to clean me up and be who I am today are the same I took with a garbage can.
First, He had to get the old self out which was my full garbage bag containing garbage called sin…in the form of gossip, or pride, or lust, or greed, or hurtful thoughts toward someone. Inside was a few good things also…my willingness to help or my caring for others. Yet, when Jesus saw these few good qualities, He knew these could be contaminated by the sin in my life and selfishly motivated. He wanted everything out so we could start fresh.
So to clean me, Jesus filled me with His Living Water. He scrubbed me clean. When something was “crusted on,” something I had a hard time letting go of, He scrubbed some more. Then He stood back and said, “she is clean.”
But He wasn’t finished. The lid…or my mind…was next. This is the entry point for all garbage. Jesus knows the mind is the battlefield to my soul. He wants it clean. So just like I cleaned the lid to the garbage can, Jesus went to work on my mind. He is never content to settle for a nice appearance, the inside of my mind must be clean, just like the inside lid of a garbage can. Today, as everyday, it is on a cleaning schedule washed through prayer, bible study and great counseling from trusted Christians.
And the last step was to clean up my outside. I will always carry scars, both visible and invisible of past hurts and battles. My outside human body is continuing to decay as long as I live. And just as the garbage can gets kicked, scraped dumped on, so I too will for the rest of my life. I will receive hurts, be at war with the unseen powers of the air, and at times, even other Christians and I may find ourselves at odds. So much garbage will be dumped on me. Only Jesus is able to keep me clean.
So my lesson in my garbage can: My life is like a garbage can and Jesus is the greatest Cleaner of all!