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Taking Out the Trash
Photo: Brad Remy
Today while I was riding my bike through our neighborhood, I was greeted with the variety of smells from all the trash containers. I even saw one woman adding something to her trash can while she was in her nightgown.

You can learn a lot about a household from observing their trash—some neighbors evidently do a lot of drinking alcohol, some have lots of soda pop containers and juice cartons, some have old electronics, and others seem to be tossing boxes from baby equipment. You can even tell who has had a recent kiddie birthday, and Christmas is always interesting. One of the houses is even known for skipping most weekly pick-ups and putting out a mountain of trash once a month, all over the sidewalk.

Consequently, I have made some judgments about neighbors based on their trash. Those are the drinkers; those are too lazy to keep their garbage off the sidewalk; those put out their trash ahead of time and then critters rip open the bags and it ends up in the street.

I usually put ours in a container with a lid and wake up early on Monday with an obsession to make sure that I get it to the curb before the truck arrives. My heart starts pounding if I glance at the clock and realize that I’ve overslept or if I wake up and think I hear that big truck.

I’m very thankful for this service so that the trash doesn’t pile up in the garage, eventually blocking the door or making it impossible for my husband to come in each evening, or to even park the cars. Better yet, the smell would eventually leak under the door into the house. In the Florida heat, it wouldn’t take many days before our trash would overwhelm our home.

"Nice" Garbage

However, one thing we do have in common with all the garbage neighbors is that we all create garbage that needs to be removed. And if I start to get self-righteous about how “nice” my garbage is, the truth is that we all create garbage and it all stinks.

If only I was as prompt and concerned about taking my soul needs to the Savior each morning—not wanting to miss the opportunity to bring my personal trash to Him for redemption and removal. He has promised: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). I don’t want the trash/sin to block the door of my heart. Jesus reminds me, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).

When the trash is cleared out, and the door is open, by eating with Jesus, I will be transformed. I have the opportunity to become the fragrance of life to those around me. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16). 

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By Karen Spruill, M.A.. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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