Imagine you are a restaurant owner and you serve food on trays. Guess what happens when people throw their trash away at the end of the meal? The tray goes in. Either accidentally or sometimes even on purpose… you just lost revenue because you have to buy another tray that should have been reusable. Or worse, you get to go dumpster diving.
How do you solve this problem? You can post signs. “Please don’t throw away the trays!”. That won’t work. Both groups of aforementioned people will continue to do this as a sign won’t prevent mistakes or evil intentions.
You could keep buying trays, sift through trash, hire staff to bus tables, start buying disposable trays… all of this costs a lot of money and none of it solves the root problem. The trash can is too accessible to the consumer.
Someone had a brilliant idea. Make the hole to the trash can smaller than the tray. Genius! Now, even if you want to, you can’t dispose of the tray.
Think about how we deal with problems.
When something troublesome comes our way, we generally handle it in a few different ways based on the issue. We dump everything in the trash and leave it all behind, running from the issue. We react too quickly, making mistakes and leaving a mess. Or we ignore it and let it all build up. All of this was the trash before the small hole was added. In other words, there was no filter, and trash piled up either in or outside of the can.
Jesus said, give me your trash! OK, it wasn’t worded exactly like that, but it was close. He installed Himself as our filter. He not only takes our sins, but He takes our burdens and our everyday pains. He listens, He cares, He comforts. He provided a way to allow us to clean up our lives without getting lost in the process. If you’ve ever encountered an honest, God loving, Christ following, Bible obeying Christian, you’ve most likely wondered what makes them so happy. How can they smile during crisis mode? Do they ever have bad days?
The answer to all of those questions and more is that they live under an umbrella of blessings that come from God. He makes all things good and right. It doesn’t mean bad things don’t happen. Even in the can, the trash still stinks. But, He provides peace, understanding, security, and most importantly, help during those times. We could take the trash directly to the incinerator. Hopefully, you clearly see the problem there. We don’t need that kind of access. We need boundaries. We need guidance. Otherwise, we would burn up with the trash. Many people see the Bible as a book of rules. If you read a little more carefully, there are few “rules” included. I would say the majority of the book is either directly detailing, or referencing God’s love for us. And because He loves us, He guides us. He shapes us. He makes us into useful, purposeful, joyful people.
Even some of that very ‘guiding’ can be painful. Becoming a Christian is like a form of detox all on its own. We sacrifice things, we leave things behind, we change habits. Because they are rules? No! Let me answer that another way… NOOOO!!!! We do it because its the best thing for us. It brings us closer to God and our Savior. It makes us complete. Our eyes are opening to the trappings of the world and how certain things can hold us down and entangle us in unimportant issues, attach us to worthless trinkets, or bombard us in meaningless character attacks. One by one, we crumple up the garbage that was never intended for man to carry with them… and we toss it out. God speaks to us and we have learned, He knows best. So we yearn to listen to Him and obey.
How does it feel? Fantastic! Weight lifted. Sites narrowed. Purpose defined. And when you develop that relationship with Jesus, it feels so good to answer that age old question that parents and spouses love to ask… “Did you take the trash out?” We can say, “yes”, but we know Jesus did it for us.