Today I was eating lunch at a local Burger King.
As I was sitting there I looked across the dining room at the trashcans. They are pictured here for you.
Even though there were people in the building and several employees milling around the dining room, I had to take a picture so I could share it with you.
I was momentarily mesmerized by what I saw.
It was one of those “Spirit of God things” that He blesses us with from time to time.
The trashcans had the words “Thank You” written across each of the trash slots.
Yes, I know…Burger King’s trashcans are no different than a thousand others I have seen in my life.
But in that moment God gave me a fresh reminder of His Gospel.
After my meal I lived out an illustration of His Gospel by taking my garbage and placing it in the only appropriate place in the restaurant: the trashcan. The manager of the restaurant hoped I would dispose of my garbage through the means he provided.
Jesus will take your garbage
Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! – John 1:29 (ESV)
Jesus Christ was the divine/human trashcan. He was the God/man who came to earth to take all of our garbage. All we have to do is give it to Him.
The Gospel is amazing to me!
It does not matter what you bring to the table. He is willing and able to take it from you. There is no sin that He will not dispose of.
- Have you had an abortion? Christ will take that from you.
- Have you committed adultery? Christ will take that too.
- Perhaps you had sex as a teen. Yes, Christ will take that from you.
- Maybe you have been the victim of someone else’s sin. Let Christ have that also.
- Perhaps your dad or mom abused you physically or verbally. Christ wants those sins as well.
There is no sin committed, whether you committed it or someone else sinned against you, that the Savior will not take from you. But that is not the end of the story. It gets even better. Not only will He take all of your sin from you, but He will fully transform you until you are like Him.
The Gospel is amazing and transformative!
Becoming a Christlike garbage collector
Part of what it means to be transformed by Christ is to imitate Christ with your life. When I think about Christlikeness or imitating Him, typically I think about being kind, humble, peacemaking, and even enduring personal suffering. All of these qualities are part of what it means to follow in the steps of the Savior.
However, there is one area that I do struggle with from time to time, as it pertains to practically living out the life of the Savior. It is when I am being sinned against.
Conceptually, I understand what it means to be Christlike. Even when I hear sermons about suffering for Jesus, I nod with an affirmative “Amen.” But sometimes in the trenches of life, when the give and take is not always kind, I can drift from this essential Gospel truth.
It is in those moments that I am tempted to demand my rights. I forget about the suffering Savior and become a demanding Devil.
In short, I forget the Gospel.
If I am not daily reminded of the Gospel I can easily slip into the mindset that I deserve better than what I am presently getting, especially when what I am getting is not meeting my expectations.
The Gospel reorients me back to the Savior by reminding me that I was making a B-line to hell, but God mercifully rescued me. If it were not for the Savior, my soul would have been left to burn eternally in hell.
Paul never drifted from the truth that he was the “chiefest” of all sinners whom God chose to save. Rather than this truth of being the worst of the worst damaging his self-esteem, it left him in a state of humility and gratitude that he never got over.
Mercifully, God opened my spiritual eyes today, when my physical eyes saw those trashcans in Burger King. I was reminded all over again of what Paul never drifted from during his time on earth:
Dear Jesus, Thank you for taking all of my garbage. And thank you for teaching me how to take other people’s garbage. The Chief
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. – 1 Timothy 1:15-16 (ESV)