dumpster diving

In the Alley of Invaluable Discards

Have you ever felt completely inadequate? I have.

In different situations.
In multiple settings.
More often than I’d like to admit.

Someone once said, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” This nifty little adage was no more apparent than the day I dragged my missed-curfew-again self through the dimly lit dorm lounge at college. It was past midnight, so naturally I was startled by the immensity of a full-size basketball backboard, rim, and net stuck on a board of plywood and stuffed between the ceiling and floor. Seriously, those things are way bigger when you’re up close and personal—something I hadn’t the pleasure of experiencing due to an unfortunate benching in the 5th grade.

Next to the goal, hanging on the wall, was a rather interesting and beautiful velvet tapestry. Apparently, somebody had found something of value in the alley of “invaluable discards” and then . . . brought it home.

I think Jesus would have appreciated that tapestry. I can envision Him sitting on the funky chair next to it (another prized find from the alley) telling a story or parable to us guys while igniting our hearts for the world around us. Then, Jesus would beckon, “Come, follow me.” Our anticipation exploding. Our egos soaring. That is, until he casually drops, “Boys, we’re going dumpster diving.”

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I [Jesus] have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” —Luke 5:31-32

God specializes in calling what man calls trash treasure. He looks for the used, searches for the marginalized, rummages for the inadequate and unqualified. How do I know this as truth? Because when he stepped into time so long ago, He emerged in the dumpster of a sin fallen world looking for the broken.

Philippians 2:6–8,

Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death upon a cross.”

This was His purpose.

Think about it.

In Luke 19:10, Jesus said to those at Zacchaeus’ house, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.”

In order to meet the woman at the well, John 4:4 tells us, “And he had to pass through Samaria” [emphasis mine].

In John 8:12, immediately after forgiving the sins of the woman caught in adultery, Jesus says to the crowd, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads you to life.”

If you’ve encountered Jesus then you are no longer trash—walking in the despair, darkness, insecurity, or inadequacy of being. Dr. Tony Evans says, “If Satan can keep you looking back, he can keep you from moving forward.” Stop letting the choices and identities of your past dictate your present and future possibilities in Christ. 

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have past away; behold, all things have become new.” —2 Corinthians 5:17

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.” —Lamentations 3:22-23

Every morning when I wake up, I have an opportunity to be the person I want God wants me to be. To be all that I can be. All I was created to be.

Jesus was a dumpster diver.

And for that, I will be forever grateful.

“Not because of who I am, but because of what You’ve done. Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who You are.”  Casting Crowns

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