Friday, July 29, 2016

Locking Up the Rubbish by Karen Rees

by Karen Rees

      A few years ago the management of our highrise apartment building moved the rubbish bins from each floor's common area into a tiny almost-empty room on the floor.  They then gave each resident a key to the locked rubbish-room door. 
      When I threw out the rubbish, I often smiled at the absurdity of keeping the room locked as if it were holding something precious.  Who in his right mind would want rubbish?
      In reality, most of us want 'rubbish' of one kind or another. 
      Money is the most obvious 'rubbish'.  With money we can build a bigger house than the neighbors, have a nicer car, wear the latest styles and generally enjoy ourselves.  Money can buy us a lot of status in the eyes of the world.  But it can't buy us a place in heaven. (Luke 12:13-21)
      Another type of 'rubbish' is the prestige of being born into the right family or graduating from a top university.  The Apostle Paul, as a devout Pharisee, had a lot of this type. (Phil. 3:4-8)  But he knew that this didn't impress God.  (Matt. 23:1-7)
      A final kind of 'rubbish', common in Asian cultures, is the idea that my being older automatically gives me the right to more status and privileges than someone younger.  This was also how the culture of Jesus' time saw things.        Jesus said that was not the view Christians should hold.  He said that the greatest should be like the youngest and a servant. (Luke 22:24-27)  Western culture seems to be the opposite, valuing youth over age.  If we want to be great in God's eyes, we must give up the status based on our age, or lack of it, and become a servant.
      But rubbish doesn't have to be all bad.  After a year or so, our building management put recycling containers into the rubbish room.  If we spend the time sorting out paper, plastics, metals and glass, our rubbish can be turned into something useful again.
      God also is in the business of recycling.  With our co-operation, He takes all the rubbish of our lives and makes something useful of it, something that will honor Him.
      Our money can be used for God – both in supporting His work and by spending the part we keep in ways that glorify Him rather than ourselves.
      Like the Apostle Paul we can use our family connections or education for God.  Paul used his status as a Pharisee to gain a hearing among the Jews and then told them about Jesus.
      God looks for spiritual maturity, not physical age, in selecting church leaders.  This was why young Timothy was in charge of the church at Ephesus. (1 Tim. 1:3 & 4:11-5:22)           
      Still, God can use our age.  Being older means we've had more years to learn life's lessons.  God can use us to humbly guide younger people to avoid the mistakes we've made.

      Whatever rubbish we've got in our lives, we shouldn't keep it locked up.  Rather, we should let God recycle it into something useful for His kingdom.

KAREN REES, with her second-generation missionary husband Benjamin, has served in Hong Kong since 1975. Besides her involvement in the mission work, Karen loves history, quilting and writing. They have two children, Matthew and Megan, and two grand-children, Hadessah and Arthur Aaron.

Her historical fiction novel, The Ruby Ring, was a Finalist Award in the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards in the Religious Fiction category. It can be purchased in paperback or eBook from and other online bookstores.

Visit Karen on her author page on FacebookWatch her book trailer, The Ruby Ring Trailer.

1 comment:

  1. Karen, thanks for sharing your insightful and challenging post with us.