Monday, August 28, 2006

One of BJ's chores was to take out the trash. To be honest, he was not very good at remembering. As a matter of fact, seldom did he do so without a reminder. It was not that physical signs were lacking. They often stood full to overflowing. I found myself wondering what he thought about when he would drop something into one of the many in the house, only to have it fall onto the floor as it bounced off whatever stood guard on top.

When I was his age, I had the same job. I would like to be able to report that I was amazing at it. After all, that was in the days when you actually could burn garbage within the city limits. My job was to collect it all, haul it to the back of the property, stuff it in a 55 gallon drum, and set it ablaze! Cool, right?

I wasn't much better at remembering than he was. After all, I had to stop whatever mundane task I was involved in... homework, watching tv, thinking or whatever, to go and do this thing.
I at least got to set it on fire... BJ had to put it in a stinky big can with a lid. No wonder he "couldn't" remember.

After his passing, emptying the trash has became a constant reminder. Perhaps it always will be.

Interestingly, though he wasn't good at remembering the physical act of dumping refuse, spiritually he seldom needed a reminder. As a matter of fact, he was pretty amazing at guarding his heart from letting "trash" pile up.

This summer in Africa, it amazed us that on trash day, each family would set out at the curb a plastic grocery bag worth of garbage for the whole week. What had they learned that we have not?

When other men were entertaining thoughts/ideas which were a precursor to sinful acts, BJ would literally flee from those situations. When the television revealed too much, he would cover his eyes or leave the room. He would request we not watch certain shows because of the content.

There were times when I wondered who the parent was, as he would tell me I needed to read more, as I sat enthralled in a worthless show. He understood that taking certain things into his mind caused him to stumble.

Rather than flirt on the edge of temptation as most of us do, he would try to occupy himself in a meaningful activity. Video games were one of his weaknesses. He could spend hours at it without realizing how much time had passed. He began to fight against this, and tried to lay it down.

He seemed to realize that "up to this moment, we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world." 1 Cor. 4:13

In his pursuit of Christ, he learned to take out the spiritual trash. He even learned to guard against letting it in. His wisdom exceeded his years. His knowledge seemed to multiply as he surrendered himself daily. He came to realize that he was "God's temple," and fought to keep it Holy.

Did he do this because he knew time was short?

I cannot say for certain, but I believe he did so because he understood the sacrifice that had been made on his behalf, and he wanted to honor and glorify his Savior. He seemed to get it in a way most of us spend our lives trying to.

"Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy." Lev. 19:2

Empty the trash today.

dad

5 Comments:

At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Cedarburg Tina said...

Dear Brent,

Today being garbage day for us, this post struck me in a special way. When I was growing up, taking the garbage out was always my brothers' responsibility and now that I am married, usually my husband does it. The few times I have had to jump in because he was out of town or whatever, I realized what a blessing he gives me every Monday b/c I did NOT enjoy doing it.

But after reading your post today, it was a good reminder how we ALL need to empty our "trash" every day, spiritually speaking anyway so that we can make room for the good that God is offering us. And you know what, the trash in our lives DOES stink, it is dirty, the hate, the anger, the selfishness, all of these things take up room where love, kindness and joy could make their home. So thank you, Brent, for the reminder to empty the "trash" that is a part of my life, and hopefully learn to do a better job of not allowing it to build up so much...just like your families in Africa!

Blessings and peace, Tina

 
At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Heather Schaper said...

Hey Dad and family,

I miss you guys a lot. You are definitely in my prayers. This time of year has been exceptionally hard for me. If it's this hard for me, I can't imagine what it could be like for you. I love you guys.

Heather

 
At 10:15 PM, Blogger Praying in Pink said...

That friend and mentor of ours would say that BJ had embraced his Significant Task. Now, I like my trash taken out as well as the next mom--but given a choice, I think I'd prefer a clean and yielded life.

Evangelicals seem somehow to neglect that vital spiritual element of confession. I've noticed, though, that the people I identify as walking ever-so-closely to Christ are also acutely aware of any TRASH impinging on their environments. May we join them (and BJ) in being quick to flee--quick to clear our lives of its stench. Thank you, Lord Jesus, that You have already made a Way!

gratefully, prayerfully, powerfully,

Marti

 
At 5:21 AM, Blogger Scott Reed said...

One of my favorite verses is Rom. 12:1, 2. I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, for this is your reasonable service and be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Sounds like B.J. had this down pretty good.

 
At 9:34 AM, Anonymous kristin dutt said...

dad-

sorry i haven't commented in a few days. getting settled in here has pretty much consumed my life. but nonetheless..its been awesome. roommates are good. small group (orientation thing) is great..and i'm just loving it. i knew that the Lord called me here for a reason..but i wasn't quite sure what that was..but here i am..loving it. no suprise, is it?! what are the chances?? 100%. Walker would appreciate that!

anyway. i'm praying for you always. and i am also continuing to be on my knees about the issue at hand.

love you. Mom! love you! hope school is continuing to go well and that the kids are being respectful and good and making things enjoyable..if not, let me know. i'll come get them =)

love you guys!!!
talk to you soon
~kristin

 

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