Tuesday, May 6, 2008
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Every other Wednesday morning it's hard to sleep in our neighborhood - not that I ever had that opportunity very often. But early in the morning you hear this clinking and clanking all over the neighborhood. The recycling convoy is moving through with these trucks collecting all the bottles and cans and newspapers we all saved for them, and off they go into recycling land. The other day I got behind one of those recycling trucks and I was in a hurry and I was not thrilled, but, because I had to slow down I got to read what was printed on the back gate of these trucks. Can you believe it? An inspirational message! Here's what it said: "Give your trash a second chance."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Give Your Trash a Second Chance."
Now God was the first recycler. He thought up the idea of taking life's garbage and making something useful out of it. There is a bold example of that in the life of Joseph, in the book of Genesis. He's thrown into a pit by his brothers, he's carried away by slave traders to Egypt, terrible things going on. Finally, through a series of providential events, he's elevated to the assistant Pharaoh's job where he could supervise and develop a plan for saving a starving nation. What a story it is! As he finally meets his brothers again who got him into this years ago, he says in Genesis 50:20, our word for today from the Word of God, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
It started in a pit. The garbage part of Joseph's story is like the garbage part of yours - it seems to make no sense. Joseph is, as maybe you have been, a victim. In fact, cowering in that pit his brothers threw him in, it didn't even look like there was a possibility of a happy ending! But Heaven's Recycler was at work behind the scene. God used this painful injustice, and this family tragedy, to position Joseph where he would otherwise never have been, in Egypt, on his way to a power position that would have been totally unimaginable in the pit! Ultimately, God's amazing recycling used the most painful moments in Joseph's life to put him in a position to save lives.
Now, that's the kind of recycling miracle your Heavenly Father wants to do with the trash you've been through - if you'll quit hanging onto it, and revisiting it, and nursing it. Release it to Him. Genesis 49 provides a revealing commentary on how Joseph, the victim, lived as Joseph, the victor. It says, "With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. But his bow remained steady, his strong arm stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, because of your father's God, who helps you." You see, there is an invisible hand working on your behalf, making a way for you that you could never imagine when you're sitting on your garbage. There's a Shepherd who is looking out for you, meeting your needs. There is a God who's like the Rock that never moves. When everything else in your life is up for grabs, like Joseph, you can remain steady - depending on who has your garbage. If you surrender it to your Lord, He'll start to turn hurt into compassion, and sensitivity for other hurting people. And that recycled trash? Well, it will equip you to be a make a difference person for a whole world of wounded people. You will know how they feel.
God can turn that trash into the greatest opportunity you have ever had, to experience His power, to experience His healing, and to prove to the skeptics around you that Jesus really does work. We have an awesome God. He takes the ugliest experiences of our lives and redeems them by making them into something beautiful. Give your trash a second chance. You'll be amazed at what Jesus can do with it.