The last week of April is “Big trash” pick up in our city.
What can be found curbside during this time runs the gamut from trash to treasure.
Some stuff is really trash, and other stuff is there because the owner doesn’t want to deal with selling it or hauling it away themselves. They just want it out of their space.
I have been known to partake in helping the folks to remove some of these things from their own personal space, and the land fill, since my youth.
The fact of the matter is that, as my Mom told me once, that I was a sheeny. That it was in my blood. That I came by it honestly and therefore could not help it.
The only definition I could find for the word was that it was a highly offensive term for a Jew. I assure you, that is not what it means to me or what she meant when she said it.
What she was referring to, was seeing something discarded, retrieving it, fixing it, and either keeping it for yourself, or selling it to another. In the most basic of terms, a trash picker.
Some of my earliest memories were not of purchases made in fancy stores, but of dumpster diving in the dumpster behind the school that we lived across the street from.
It could be smelly, to be sure, but what a coup to bypass the apple cores and banana peels from someone’s lunch to find half used pads of fat ruled paper with dotted lines for beginning writers and pencil stubs and broken crayons. Maybe even a partially used sheet of stickers tossed away by a teacher who had grown tired of using them.
This began my love affair with paper and pencils and crayons, but that is for another story.
The point of this story is twofold.
First, to announce to the world that I was a curb side entrepreneur before it was cool to be that. If it could not be used for it’s original purpose, I would find something else to do with it!
Second, and of so much more importance, is this;
The things that other people consider trash can be of use to someone else. They can be cleaned up and used for their original purpose, or they can be transformed into something totally different than what the eye can see.
I have seen this happen over and over.
An old mirror becomes a center piece for a dining room, complete with candles and cloches and flowers.
An old dresser, with a fresh coat of paint and a little new hardware can become a place to hide all of the things you use daily, but want to keep close, but out of sight.
An old pair of boots becomes a planter in the side yard for hens and chickens or strawberries.
The most striking transformations I have ever seen though have not been with goods “purchased” at the curb.
The most striking transformations I have ever seen have been lives “purchased” at the cross.
I have seen this happen over and over again.
When Jesus reached down through the yuck and the muck, the apple cores and the banana peels, with His palms stained with blood, He redeemed so much more than paper and crayons.
He redeemed a life. A life that others could only see as trash.
Jesus saw past the demolished life visible only to the eye. He saw past the uselessness of a life in ruin. He saw what a life could be.
Jesus sees what He paid for on that cross. He sees the one who is fearfully and wonderfully made.
Jesus sees the one who is made in the image of God, the one who has been led to believe that he is all alone.
Jesus is there reaching down with that blood stained hand, to pull that one up, and to give a new coat of paint, a different set of hardware. He wants to show the “New” purpose for that life, and discard the one that was old and decrepit.
The enemy of that soul has “sold” a bill of goods to almost the entire world.
Trash. Ruined. Damaged. No value. Fragmented. Un-fixable.
The death of Christ on the cross and His resurrection has paid the price for the reversal.
Trash to treasure. Ruination to pristine. Damaged to usefulness.
No value to priceless. Fragmented to whole. Un-fixable to show room new.
The very thing that holds us prisoner is probably the very thing that was given to us as a gift from our Heavenly Father.
Stolen from us by the one who hates our souls!
Won’t you reach up from the rubble and take His hand today?
Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
Psalm 40:2 (NKJV) He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Psalm 139:14 (NIV) I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.