Keith Wishum: Taking out the trash

Published 9:30 pm Saturday, August 27, 2016

Taking out the trash can be an ordeal.
At our house, that chore belonged to my teenage son until he dared to grow up and leave home, leaving me stuck with the job. He didn’t like it. I don’t either. That’s why it was his job. I figured it was the least he could do to compensate for the two tons of groceries a teen boy consumes each week. (Or, parental meanness runs in my family; take whichever explanation you like.)
As I was saying before, the need to justify my violation of the child labor laws, few enjoy taking out the trash, but things could be worse. Much worse. Though our trash sometimes resembles a small mountain range, it usually gets hauled away before the snow melts from the peaks. Folks in Philadelphia once had a harder time taking out their trash.
In 1985, an incinerator shipped away 14,000 tons of ash on the freighter, Khian Sea. Unfortunately, the ship was turned away from ports in six nations. For two years, the crew tried in vain to unload the ash, rumored to be toxic.
In 1987, ship owners even changed the name of the ship hoping to slip into some unsuspecting harbor. They offloaded 2,500 tons onto a beach in Haiti and illegally dumped the rest at sea. For 13 years, the pile of unwanted ash soaked up the sun on the Haitian beach before being shipped back to the U.S. in 2000. Finally, in 2003, a site was found to accept the ash – a landfill in Franklin County, Pa., just 120 miles from Philadelphia. The well-traveled trash was back home.
Bizarre? Yes, but we face a similar problem. We accumulate spiritual trash – things like guilt, hatred, jealousy, arrogance. We build up tons of it. Nobody wants to take it out. Nobody can get rid of it for us.
Well, almost nobody. Our Creator can. He specializes in clean-up. No heart is too toxic, no life too messy. He offers to give any of us a clean house.
“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (Hebrews 9:14)
It’s an ordeal to take out the trash – unless you know the right Person for the job.

Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church of Christ, Americus.