Saturday, January 03, 2009

Welcome Mr. Trashman

#4 on our count down of the Top 5 Under-Appreciated LifeNotes of 2008 was a fun one for me. My brothers and I were at one time fascinated with the trash trucks and trash collectors that visited our neighborhood once a week. There was something powerful and inspiring about the whole thing. And, yeah, a little bit gross, too. Many years later and my daughters have taken a liking to the whole scene as well.

Anyway, I got to thinking about how really amazing God is concerning the trash that clutters-up my life, particularly the trash that messes me up on the inside. He's incredible with all that! And that brings us to the #4 Under-Appreciated LifeNote of 2008: "Welcome Mr. Trash Man."

If you missed it the first time when it was published last March, here's another opportunity I think you'll like.


Does a big behemoth of a trash truck thrill you? Around my house, we think they’re wonderful.

For several years whenever any of us, Ellen, Emma, Sarah or I, heard the low rumble of the approaching beast, we would shriek in various keys and styles, and run to the window to glimpse the city’s lumbering removal system. What a spectacle. The big-as-a-house creature would sort of squat down and unfurl one of its’ alien-like arms. This appendage of deliverance would deftly reach out and grasp our cowering container of garbage, hoist it skyward, and forcefully shake it until it expended every last vestige of foulness.

We cheered.

Our comparatively diminutive container, which, resting in the street had previously looked happy enough, immediately appeared somehow grateful—like it had suddenly realized it was never supposed to be happy when stuffed—and that it’s friend was the trash truck. As it rumbled away, we often waved goodbye. “Thank you, Mr. Trash Truck and Mr. Trash Man! Thank you for taking our trash! We love you! See you next week!”

Truth is, we still cheer Mr. Trash Man. Just last night I encouraged my youngest daughter to welcome His work.

For some time now we have likened the Holy Spirit’s effort within us to that of the trash man. Pardon us if you’re offended by our comparison, but consider God’s directive: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) We know by experience what I’ll bet you do, too. God isn’t particularly thrilled just because we set out our trashy anxieties, whether by the confession of sin or by the expression of our fears; He’s interested in caring for us.

God’s care for me doesn’t come only when I’m doing well and loving life, but when I’m doing poorly and full of garbage. Sin, failures and fears often whisper to us that we’ve got to stop them—stop them right now!—but they never suggest we immediately offer ourselves to God who can do something about them. And sin, failures and fears never bring up Jesus’ ability concerning struggles and temptations, either. He faced every struggle and temptation we’ve had or will ever face, and disposed of them. All of them.

And where is this Jesus today? In you. In me. And in my wife and daughters. You’re not full of garbage—God lives in you! But sometimes you’ll feel like you are. Don’t believe it; it’s a lie directed at the glory of God.

That’s why one of our pet names for God is The Trash Man. When we know that one of us is beleaguered we might say something like, “Wonder what the Trash Man might do for you?” or, “The Trash Man is really good at taking the trash out of you. Have you given Him a call?” Immediately we know what’s meant: God is good and amazing in the middle of sin, failures and fears, struggle and temptation. He’s good with us, and He’s always about freedom and purity—He’s a sanitation expert. He knows how to make and keep the majesty of His Bride.

You’ll never ever be an offense to Him. He cares for you, in anything and everything. Talk with Him and call upon Him when the trash is threatening. His care for you will be evident, and you’ll learn to more quickly welcome Mr. Trash Man.


  1. Anonymous8:46 AM

    Loved the trash truck example. Wonder if Carl Hutter still follows ‘em around like I do?

  2. Glad you liked this.


  3. Anonymous1:46 PM


    You're a terrific writer!

  4. I'm glad you liked it.


  5. Anonymous11:52 AM


    Just wanted to say thanks for the trash truck article today. Our trash man is supposed to come by & get our "goodies", and it is always a relief to get rid of so much stuff. Your spiritual application is so appropriate on this level.

    Sort of reminds me of the time we babysat this IBM engineer's kids one summer, and I found their teenage boy had stashed some Playboy magazines under his bed. I told him that putting those thoughts into his mind would be like going down to the kitchen and feeding his stomach with stuff from the garbage pail. I think he got the point.

    Blessings to you & yours this new year. Last year sure was filled with many ups & downs for you all.
    God helps us grow when things are out of the realm of routine.

    Torrey B.