Garbage Pail People

January 19, 2013

I Love Costco. I am a warehouse store's favorite customer. I just enjoy being in Costco. I love to look at all the stuff and wonder how many pickles you can get in one 5 gallon bucket. The thought of leaving one store with 10 pounds of ground beef, a new living room set, and a casket amazes me (yes, Costco sells caskets... And carpet). I also remember purchasing a box of kitchen tall trash bags about 18 months ago.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and my industrial supply of kitchen tall trash bags did also. The sad thing is that I saw it coming. I knew we were getting low and intended to get back to Costco for my next 18 month supply of garbage can liners. However, the trek to our local warehouse giant isn't so easy with our hectic schedule.

So as my bags dwindled I stretched them as far as they could go right down to last one; pressing, stomping, and, in some cases, ignoring the stench of brown banana peels, old mashed potatoes, and the occasional styrofoam meat tray (juice obsorbing sponge thingy and all...). With the amount of trash our family produces we couldn't get caught without kitchen tall trash can liners.

Enter my lovely wife. On a quick trip to Target, she realized our quandary and grabbed a much smaller, yet sufficient supply of trash can liners.

Over the next few days I found myself wondering where the wonderful aroma of floral bouquet was coming from in our kitchen. For a man, I must confess, I have a "Scensy" knock off in my office (my apologies Shannon). So I can enjoy a good candle when I smell one. However, our kitchen Scensy had not been on for several days. I began to realize that every time I opened the trash can to dump the week old leftovers, the smell got stronger. "Shear brilliance!", I thought.

I wonder if the same person who thought up putting lotion on toilette paper thought of the scented garage bag? What a genieous! Make the bag smell so good that the stench of what's inside fades away. Even better, the sweet aroma of the garbage container overshadows even the content of what's inside! All of the brown banana peels, old mashed potatoes, last weeks dinner, stale used coffee grounds, junk mail, old homework, and on and on, just dissapear out of mind with the scented trash bag!

Let's over spiritualize this for a minute. Don't we do the same thing!?! We dress up the outside, make it so appealing and appear to "smell really good" when we aren't taking the garbage out.

What do I mean? I mean that when it comes down to it, the only one who really knows what's going on inside of me is me... or inside of you, you. Paul says, "who knows the mind and heart of a man better than that man himself?" (paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 2). Or, everyone else only sees the outward appearance and draws conclusions about how you live your life based on what's seen. But we can't fool God with a scented trash bag. God looks through the bag, and the wonderful smell we douse our garbage in, to see what's IN the bag, what's in our heart.

Maybe the scarest thing is that sometimes we are so good at dressing up our garbage that it's not just others we fool with our scented trash bag. We wind up even deceiving ourselves. We're at church every time the doors are open, we never miss a life group or an opportunity to bring cupcakes, we say yes to all the right things and even project a "got-it-all-together" image with our speech and dress. Please don't missunderstand, I'm not saying this as an accusation, but rather for introspection.

So the question is, what's in your garbage? What's inside the garbage pail of your life that you just keep dousing in perfume hoping others don't see it and consequently realize you've got a lot of garbage in your can? What's that area of your life that maybe you've covered up for so long that you've deceived yourself into thinking that it's not even there, and worse, that you've decieved yourself that God doesn't even notice, or at least doesn't mind it - afterall you sure do a lot for Him.

Imagine with me for a minute...
My house is a house of 6 busy people. We generate a lot of garbage - a LOT. Wendesday nights are "trash nights". Combined with coming home from work/school, eating dinner, going to Wednesday night church, making Thursdays lunches, showers, and bed time, it's also "trash night" - something I hate. Gathering up all the trash and recyclables, dragging them outside in the dark, loadin them into our three dumpsters (yes, THREE), and dragging them down the driveway to the curb avoiding our resident oppossum is not my favorite weekly chore, but one I've done since I was a kid. Now imagine that I never did this and the garbage just kept piling up. How awful would that be!?! There's not enough scented bags in the world for that stench! But every Wednesday we have empty garbage cans and it feels good to get all that garbage out.

It also feels good to get all of my "garabage" out and walk with the Lord with a clear conscience and peace with God. Not that I'm perfect! The reason I connect my smelly garbage bag to my "smelly garbage" is because I have smelly garbage. But imagine being able to continually walk with the Lord knowing the garbage bag is empty, you've been forgiven, your trash is dumped as far as the east is from the west by the Redemption Refuse Service. What a great place to be!?!

Let me encourage you to spend some time in prayer with the Lord taking out the trash, confessing your garbage to Him. He is faithful, and you'll appreciate an empty garbage can.

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