Author Archive

Trash or Treasure

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Today’s scripture: Malachi 1:11-14 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Carla Peck):

Today’s passage reminded me of an article I saw in our recent Church bulletin about our Homeless Ministry Team. The Team is collecting specific items of clothing — pants, t-shirts, socks — for Horizon House, a local non-profit that provides programs to help end homelessness. The article warns us: “Please don’t bring in bags of miscellaneous cast-off clothing; Horizon House can’t make use of it.”

When I read that I was a little taken back at first. Why not? They didn’t have to buy it and should be grateful for what they receive. But soon I recalled the day I volunteered in Horizon House’s donation center with my dear departed friend, Ray Steele. I sorted shoes. Ray sorted clothing.

My instructions from the Horizon House staff person were to:

  • Toss house slippers and high heels into a pile — they would be going to another facility.
  • Only keep the shoes that I would consider walking 5 miles in (they told me that’s the average a homeless person walks in one day) or wearing to a job interview.

I was provided with latex gloves and began my shoe sorting. There were several shoes that went into the “other facility” pile and a lot of shoes that were so worn that I wouldn’t have even considered wearing them to mow my yard in. One of those pairs of shoes was given to a Horizon House client who needed a men’s size 10 while I was there. All the shoes were extremely worn, but I reached into my stock and found the best size 10 that I could for him.

Today’s scripture speaks of taking our very best to God. What is your best that you can take to God? Remember the scripture about how we treat “the least of these” is how we treat Jesus? How many times have I given my best to the least of these? How many times have I donated silently seeking a return on my investment (a brownie point, an angel wing, etc.).

Recently, we were talking about giving our best to God in the African American Oasis. We read a short story titled “Without Exception or Limitation.” God’s love is compared to Man’s love. Man’s love is imperfect, transitory and conditional. We love ourselves when we are winning, ace a test, finish a project, buy a new home, or snag a coveted promotion. We loathe ourselves for getting too fat, for losing a job, for failing at love — and that is how we love our neighbor, too, as we love ourselves. Because we do not know how to love perfectly, we cannot presume to know the depth of God’s love. Perfect love does not seek a return on its investment.

However, the next column over in the same Church bulletin exclaims:

Bring Your Trash to Church!

Ah! My redemption! My trash is wanted too — bring in aluminum cans, newspapers and ink cartridges for recycling. The irony of this makes me chuckle.

Thought for the day: Lord, forgive me for the times that I have not given my best to you. Forgive me for seeking a return on my investment. Please continue to challenge and stretch me to strive to love as you do — perfectly, without exception and limitation!

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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