Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Our son and daughter-in-law live and work on an Indian reservation. And as they've tried to do the work of Christ in pretty challenging conditions, they've lived in humble places, a long drive from the nearest town of any size. Recently, God did something really exciting for them - He provided a little home for them in a place where really those are nearly impossible to come by. Because they moved - and because they're involved in a lot of youth ministry in that house - they quickly needed a place to put their rapidly multiplying trash. Our son called for a dumpster, but that takes a little while on the reservation. In the meantime, they just had to pile it outside - where the reservation dogs usually tore it up and scattered it all around. Well, we recently got a call from a very happy son. He explained his joy with four simple words - "We got a dumpster!"
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A Place For Your Garbage."
You don't want to just keep piling up your garbage. You don't want it scattered all over the place. It's really nice to have a place for your garbage. And we do. For our emotional garbage, that is, and our spiritual garbage. There really is a place to bring your trash - and leave it there - because of a tremendous invitation extended by Jesus Christ.
It's actually the first verse I ever remember memorizing as a kid in Sunday School. It's in Matthew 11:28, our word for today from the Word of God. Jesus says, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Jesus tells us, "Bring whatever you've been carrying, whatever has burdened you and weighed you down - bring it to Me. If you're tired of carrying it, I will give you rest." Peter talks about "casting all your care on Him because He cares for you."
There is a place to bring the garbage of your life ... beginning with every sin you've ever committed. The hymn writer put it this way: "My sin, O the bliss of this glorious thought; my sin, not in part, but the whole was nailed to the cross and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!" If you've brought your sin to the cross where Jesus died to pay for it, it's gone! Forgiven! Erased from God's book forever!
Once you've opened your life to Jesus, He asks you to keep coming to Him with what's making you "weary and burdened." The hurt that's happened to you, the abuse, betrayal, the abandonment, the rejection - all that pain. And that bitterness that you've let pile up in a trash pile in your heart. The longer you dwell on how you've been wronged, the more foul the stench from that rotting resentment in your heart. The decay and disgusting odor ultimately infects and affects the lives of all the people around you. Until you finally bring all that garbage to the feet of Jesus, again accepting His invitation to "Come to Me ... and I will give you rest."
God has made available a spiritual and emotional "dumpster" where you can dump all your garbage in a place where it won't clutter your life or the lives of those around you. But you can still choose to just keep piling up your trash where it gets scattered everywhere and it "uglys" the lives of those close to you. What a tragedy when Jesus keeps asking you to bring all your garbage to Him - so He can forgive you, unburden you, restore you. Don't leave it out there where it will make such a mess and trash everything around you.