Lessons from a Garbage Can

I was pleased when yard-waste recycling first came to our area. Along with the service came a huge, cube-shaped yard waste container on wheels. I eagerly anticipate wheeling the big container around the yard while cleaning up the mess of pine cones and pine needles that grace our yard every autumn.

After my first hour of raking, I wheel that awesome container to one of my many piles. I pick up the first pile and begin pushing it to the second. Suddenly without warning, I am slammed to the ground, face down inside that container—a most undignified position. I am face down inside a garbage can and it hurts!

I pick myself and my not-so-wonderful garbage can on wheels up and gather the next pile of yard debris.

As I proceed across the yard, that garbage can attacks me a second time. Once again I am slammed to the ground, face down inside the garbage can. Now I am mad. I’m in pain and I’ve decided this dastardly contraption is dangerous.

I pick up yet another pile of yard debris, and very, very cautiously begin to move toward the next. Again that evil garbage can attacks, and I am thrown to the ground face first inside the reprehensible container a third time.

I am beyond mad. I am livid! I am going to call the garbage company and give them an ear full. What if this happened to one of my parents? Would someone end up with a broken hip? This contraption could seriously injure someone. Why would anyone design such a demonic piece of dangerous equipment?

Infuriated, I slam the lid of that evil garbage can shut, only to discover the following message in large letters: “Caution: Close lid before moving!”

What had landed me face down inside the garbage can? I had stepped on the bottom lip of the open lid as I pushed the container. I hadn’t read the instructions! I had ignored them.

As I painfully make my way to the house, I think of how often we find ourselves face down emotionally or spiritually in the garbage can of life. God’s Word is our instruction guide. Ignoring His instructions will lead to tremendous amounts of unnecessary pain. We repeat the same mistakes with the same painful results.

When we choose to follow the guidance of His Word, we are better equipped to handle the issues and temptations that would throw us into life’s garbage can. Read and follow the instructions! It can equip you to break the cycle of failure and its resulting pain and frustration.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV


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