Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Welcome Mr. Trash Man

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 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 more quickly to welcome Mr. Trash Man.

(This post is now appearing on Lifetime Guarantee’s site, an excellent resource for the Christian life. A new post will arrive tomorrow, Wednesday, October 26. Go to http://www.lifetime.org/)


  1. Kristen Daria Zuriel10:44 AM

    Thank you, bro.

  2. Michael Purdy10:45 AM

    Thanks for the tag, and the writing. :) Very cute, too!

    I know I need to learn to remember that I'm not my own trashman! No more than an inanimate bin could empty its own rubbish, could I empty my own in any truth.

  3. Marie Louise Cassidy11:11 AM

    Amen, love the analogy, it's gonna be helpful :)

  4. Jackie Hyatt Lacy12:27 PM

    An inspiring word of encouragement to look to Mr. Trashman for the removal of our garbage! Awesome analogy Ralph! Thank you for always being a source of truth and edification!

  5. Connie Ashton Reed12:32 PM

    What a great analogy to use to teach your daughters! As I was reading it, I was remembering when I used to live in the city and had trash pickup, but since moving to the country, trash disposal is our responsibillity - much like those living under the Old Covenant and the never-ending accumulation of trash in attempting to live up to the Law (Law fuels sin/trash). Thank you, Jesus, for Your finished work at the cross, rendering those of us in You cleansed because of Your obedience.