I was putting out my recycling earlier this week and as I walked by my trash can the stench was so pungent, that it felt like it was reaching out of the closed lid and grabbing my nostrils and punching my olfactory glad repeatedly. I was so confused because this smell was so far outside of the range of “normal trashcan smell”. What had I put into the trash this week?
And as I walked back inside I realized that there was a carcass of a chicken and a bunch of overcooked vegetables on top of our usual weekly garbage decomposing in the hot, full, black trash can. I had noticed earlier the week before that our chicken stock stores were running low and our small group had just done a round of freezer cooking… so it was time to make some broth!
Broth is amazing stuff. Put a bunch of stuff that would usually just go in the trash with some seasonings and spices and put it in a pot on the stove overnight and all of a sudden there is this wonderful liquid that contains so much wonderful protein and other nutrients that a glass of it can easily substitute for a lunch! Through a specific process, trash can become beautiful and life giving.
And as I walked back inside from that incredible smell, I was struck by how similar I am to chicken broth. Hang with me here. Left to my own devices, I am a whole bunch of trash that cares about himself and only cares about others insofar as I can use them to make my life better. I am a pile of rotting trash that is repulsive to anyone else. But through a very specific process, I have been transformed into something beautiful and life giving. Because of the love of God, demonstrated for me by His taking the penalty for and my very sins themselves onto Himself on the cross, I have been made new.
The Gospel is wonderfully good news for me, and for everyone around me. And it it good news for you and everyone around you as well!
Paul said it this way in his letter to Titus (chapter 3, verses 3 through 8)
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
My prayer is that these excellent and profitable things would find their way into our hearts and minds so that our hands might be devoted to doing to good to which we are called.