Image Credit: Getty Images/Olga PS

Trash or Treasure

Friday morning is a high point in our household. A special event takes place in the morning hours that my little son looks forward to with much anticipation: The garbage truck comes to pick up the trash.

Though he can’t talk yet, he smiles and enthusiastically blows kisses towards any trash can that he sees knowing they lead to the garbage truck. When he hears the rumble of the truck, he runs and climbs on the back of the couch, smiling, screaming and pointing as the truck rumbles up to the curb to grab the garbage cans.

Trash doesn't excite me in any way. In fact, the garbage can in our home has become even more foul having a child in diapers. I want the trash as far away from me as possible, and I am glad that the garbage truck comes to take the trash away.

This is not the reaction my little son has. He sees the trash cans and is excited; he sees the garbage truck and is filled with exuberant joy. He can’t contain his excitement at the sight of any garbage can or truck.

This joy over trash has led me to understand in a small part how Jesus feels about us. We as sinful people are dirty, filthy, stinky in our mess. We have no real appeal; rather we are smelly and as gross as trash.

Left in our sin, we become dirtier and dirtier, and we can become so used to being sinful that we don’t even smell the stink anymore. This could be a very depressing reality to be left in. However, Jesus provides promises that He loves us even in our mess.

Rom. 5:8 says, “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus didn't give His life for a bunch of perfect people. Jesus didn't say we can only be saved if we show up perfect and mess-free before Him. Rather He loves us and died for us while we were still sinners.

1 John 4:9 says, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.” It’s because of God’s great love for us that we can live and have a chance at being clean and new in Him. This isn’t something we can do for ourselves. It only comes through a relationship with the Life-Giver, the Maker of All Things.

The unbelievable thing is that Jesus, the creator of the world, looks forward to His time with us just like my little son looks forward to the garbage truck. Jesus is filled with exuberant joy when He thinks of us. He smiles; He jumps for joy when He sees us.

He sees our mess — our garbage — and it doesn't repulse Him, rather it draws Him ever closer to us. He desires to be with us, to clean us and restore us. He doesn't sit there and smell the stink, rather when He looks at us, He sees something of great value.

What the world sees as trash, Jesus sees as great treasure.

Jesus sees what the world would throw away as of great value. We are more valuable to Him than even His own life.

Each Friday morning, I am reminded just how much Jesus loves each one of us. I am reminded that Jesus looks forward to any amount of time we spend with Him.

He is waiting for us to come to Him. He is longing for us to come to Him for companionship and restoration. He is excited to take our trash and turn it to great treasure.

I pray that when you see a trash can or the garbage truck you will be reminded just how much Jesus loves you, and that He is excited to spend time with you!

Featured in: November/December 2023