We had not been married for a long time yet. I suppose had I been a bit wiser I might have known that what I was about to do could lead Betsy to wonder what she had gotten into. There they were, sticking right out of the dumpster, two beautiful 6” x 6” pressure treated posts waiting to be re-homed. I could imagine them perfectly placed in our landscaping to keep the dirt from washing away.
I waited for my opportunity. We were sitting in a restaurant waiting to be served. I was getting a bit anxious. Wonder if someone else spied “my” treasure and pounced on it before I had opportunity? Time might be against me. The thought never occurred to me that others may not see what I did sticking out of that ugly green hulk. Betsy did not. Decidedly so, Betsy did not. I realize that now. I didn’t see it then. The thought never occurred to me that she might not understand my urgency in getting up from the table before dinner was served to climb the side of that dumpster, pull out those two timbers and load them up before returning to the table. It is a testament to her patient forbearance that she took it in stride and went right ahead with dinner. Only years later did I discover what she was thinking…
God is a dumpster diver. Yes, God IS a dumpster diver. He dove after Moses, David, Rahab, Paul, and a whole lot of other people that had been thrown away. Moses was a murderer, David too small and scrawny, Rahab was a ‘woman of the night’, Paul a religious, narrow-minded persecuting zealot. All of them were damaged goods. All of them had been ‘thrown away’ by their families, their nations, their national leaders and in general, by any self respecting person of their day. They were the refuse in the dumpsters of society. Jesus was criticized because He frequented the homes of outcasts, ate and drank with them. It’s hard to find anyone in the Bible who accomplished much of anything who was not thrown away by those who knew them best.
But God sees in us what other people don’t see. God sees in us what we don’t even see. God sees all that we were made to be and He sees all that we still can be. Until the dumpster is hauled off and its contents burned in flames, those who have been thrown away, seen as not much count, are still valuable to God. I think He searches the dumpsters of the world looking for those that everyone else has given up on. When He gets His hands on them, they become something of beauty to behold!
How do you keep a magic wand from going off?
I have a magic wand on my desk. I have never used it and I have lost the instruction booklet that came with it. What I remember is that each person who uses it may only use it one time. I bought it six years ago at Hogwarts. Yes, Hogwarts. You may be asking yourself, “Doesn’t he know that Harry Potter is pretend?”
Yes, I do know that but nevertheless, six years ago while touring in England Betsy and I visited Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, Great Britain where filming was done for portions of the Harry Potter movies.
Now back to my dilemma. If I can only use it one time what should I wish for? Here is a list of starters: A new car, new house, money, good job, no job, perfect health, longevity, world peace, etc. But each time I think of something to wish for eventually I realize that it wouldn’t be the best thing to wish for. New cars wear out, new houses age, money gets spent, bad jobs can become good ones and good jobs can turn sour. When money comes does it automatically come with wisdom to use it wisely? When we don’t like our work, can we tell the difference between that being our problem and someone else’s problem?
This morning, speaking with several dozen four year olds in our weekly chapel service I asked them what they would wish for if they only had one wish. (Before you get upset, I explained that this was all pretend). Here is the list in part: A new car, a tractor, for Arthur to come alive, a boyfriend (boyfriend!) more than one little girl wished this. One wise four year old girl said, “For bad people to stop being bad.”. Out of the mouth of babes!
I ended our time together by saying that I wasn’t going to let them touch it because I was afraid it might go off! And anyway, God was the only one who was smart enough to know how to use the thing. I also explained that God loved us very much and that He was more than willing to listen to our requests and that if it was good for us He would be more than happy to give it to us. One of the teachers commented that I should lock it safely away under glass!
We all have a ‘want list’. With our want list let us pray, “Lord, fix my want-er because it is broken and seems to always want the wrong things.”
Want Ad: In search of a car with a 400 gallon gas tank. Call me quick!
I can’t find a car with a 400 gallon gas tank! If I wished to travel from Dunn, NC to Barstow, CA, the western end of I40, I would need that much gas. Traveling I40 it would take 196 gallons of gas (assuming 25 mpg) to travel the 2,465 miles. However, calculating the weight of 196 gallons of gas at 6 pounds per gallon, that adds 1,182 pounds of weight to carry. I figure that will reduce the mileage so that an extra 200 gallons will be necessary for the round trip. But I can’t find a car with a 400 gallon gas tank anywhere!
Betsy, my wife suggested (stiffing laughter) that I would be much better off assuming that I could stop along the way as my tank neared empty and fill up with gas. What a brilliant idea!
By now you must think I am the dumbest traveler in the world. Doesn’t everyone understand that cars are built assuming a nationwide network of gas stations to refill the tank?
We understand that no destination of great distance on the American road can be reached without stopping to refill our tank. In the same way our wise heavenly Father knows every need in each new day. He understands our need for rest, nourishment, shelter, companionship and love.
Jesus tells us, “Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to Him than they are.” (Matthew 6:26-27)
As surely as we don’t need to wear our cars out hauling around a ton of gasoline, we don’t need to wear ourselves out hauling around a ton of tomorrow’s worries!