Sent: July 15, 2002
Subject: Beautiful Garbage
Good Morning Ethan & Emily:
One of the more poignant passages in the New Testament is a statement by Paul in his first letter to the believers in the 1st century church at Corinth. In “pouring out his heart” for these new believers, he offers teaching and guidance on how to live for Christ, and in so doing he reveals what life had become for him as he shared the gospel message of life and hope:
“…we are laughed at. To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, without enough clothes to keep us warm. We have endured many beatings, and we have no homes of our own. We have worked wearily with our own hands to earn our living (to avoid any misunderstanding). We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We respond gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash…” (1 Corinthians 4:10-
I wonder just how many faithful servants of the Lord…whether missionaries or pastors…or faithful lay persons have felt the same. So often gift to missionaries are “leftovers” or whatever someone else does not want. Our materialistic and over-achieving environment finds it difficult to impossible to relate to someone who would give their life…literally “throw it away” from the world’s viewpoint…sharing the gospel in a remote region of the world or on the streets of the inner city.
Later in writing to the Roman church about salvation and those who have never heard the good news of the gospel, Paul restated a passage from the Old Testament: “And how can they believe in Him (our Lord Jesus Christ) if they have never heard about Him. And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?…That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'” (Romans 10:14-15, Isaiah 52:7). Yes, Paul was willing to put up with social rejection and even physical abuse to share the good news of forgiveness and salvation.
Regardless of what the world thinks…”the Lord’s loved ones are precious to Him, it grieves Him when they die.” Though “garbage” to the world…in God’s sight, all His faithful servants are “precious”…down to their feet which He sees as “beautiful.”
My prayer is that we will all be faithful to share the gospel…to never be ashamed to stand for God…and willing to be “garbage” for our faithfulness.
Just plain “garbage” to the world…but “precious” and “beautiful garbage” in God’s sight.
Every time you take out the garbage, let it be a reminder that the greatest thing we can do in life is to “throw our lives away” in service to our wonderful Lord!
Have a great day,