Remove the stain of my guilt.
Do you ever marvel at the magic of garbage removal? One night each week we put cans full of seven days’ refuse at the end of our driveways and go to bed. We wake the next morning, back our cars out of the driveway, and find those same cans upside down, emptied of their vile contents; and not just our garbage, but that of the whole neighborhood. It’s as mysterious as it is amazing!
Never is the magic of garbage removal more important than just prior to a move. After all, before moving from one location to another, from the old house to the new, one must clean out the closets, cabinets, and garage and get rid of the refuse.
I was once preparing to sell my house and move to a new city when I learned the deeper magic of garbage removal. I started by cleaning the yard, working from outside-in. What I thought would take only a few hours took several days. The funny thing about looking for your garbage is the more you look, the more you find. I found enough of my own rubbish to fill the ten feet at the end of my driveway with a chest-deep pile. Some items included the construction debris from last summer’s home improvement project, worn-out old clothes, unused toys, and bags of household trash. I stood in front of my garage and marveled at the site of all my old stuff. How could one man accumulate so much junk? Should I put some of it on e-bay? Would the garbage man have a coronary when he saw the magnitude of my mountain? Would he take it all or leave some for next week?
Guilt is an understandable response when one sees the mess they’ve made. So I decided to set my alarm for o’dark-thirty, don my work gloves, and help my garbage man just to make sure my driveway was thoroughly cleaned. But, what if he comes before my alarm goes off? I thought. So, I decided to sleep on the couch, near the front door so I might hear the early morning symphony of diesel and steel, arise and help the garbage man. I awoke before dawn, went outside into the driveway and found nothing but empty cans. Standing in bleary-eyed disbelief, I looked and wondered how I could have slept while the garbage man moved my mountain of mess. In the shadow of early morning, I saw an amazing picture of expiation; the removal of spiritual garbage.
Do you ever marvel at the magic of garbage removal? Human beings can accumulate a lot of spiritual trash in the course of life. Yet for the Christian there is a Garbage Man! Repentance is taking our cans full of refuse to the end of the driveway and trusting the Garbage Man to do His work while we are at rest.
The magic of spiritual garbage removal is never more important than when preparing to move. I am going to leave my old life, my home in this city and move to a new home in a New City. Before leaving, the cabinets, closets, and garage of this old life must be rid of their rubbish. The job one might think would take only hours can turn into a lifetime. The funny thing about looking for my garbage is the more I look, the more I find. I find sacks of selfishness, pounds of pride, an avalanche of anger, and the debris of unresolved fights with family. Sometimes I stand and marvel at the site of all my stuff! How could one man accumulate so much junk? Should I put some of it on e-Bay? Will the Garbage Man have a coronary when He sees the magnitude of my mountain? Will He be able to take it all away, or will He leave some behind?
Guilt is my understandable response when seeing the mess I’ve made. So, I set my alarm to wake up at o’dark-thirty to don my religious work gloves and help the Garbage Man clear my driveway. But to my constant surprise, when I wake in the morning I find nothing but empty cans. Standing in bleary-eyed disbelief I often wonder, How can I sleep while the Garbage Man removes my mountains of mess? I would have helped if He had only awakened me.
Suddenly the fog of my own self-absorbed delusion lifts as understanding dawns. God doesn’t need me to help Him remove my garbage. He has Jesus, the Garbage Man for that. King David had it right in his psalm of repentance when he said, Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt (Ps 51:7-9). From the evidence of the verbs David used, he believed he was passive with respect to his spiritual garbage removal. That’s where Jesus, the Garbage Man comes in: We repent, Jesus removes.
Isn’t repentance our part of spiritual garbage removal? Don’t we have some work to do? Certainly we have some responsibility to take out the trash, to get the cans to the end of the driveway, but is that the same as removal? No, all we can do is present all our stuff to the Garbage Man at the end of the driveway of surrender and trust Him to remove it from us.
Epilogue: An Unexpected Opportunity
There is an unexpected benefit produced when He removes so much of our garbage— the neighbors notice! A neighbor recently commented, I guess you are serious about moving! I saw all your trash out last night—didn’t think the Garbage Man would take so much! I answered back, Yeah, I know. But under my breath I whisper, You have no idea how much the Garbage Man can take—not yet!
Are you serious about moving? Discover the magic of Jesus, Garbage Man!