When I was travelling in Cambodia, I found that almost every family owns at least one hammock. Given the pleasant weather and lovely natural scenery there, a nap in the hammock could be truly relaxing.
Attempting to duplicate the experience in Cambodia, I bought a hammock when I came back to Beijing. It was not until last weekend that I grabbed the chance to use it. Last Saturday afternoon, I hung my hammock between two trees in the community I live and turned the relaxing mode on.
Since I didn’t have many choices of trees, my hammock ended up adjoining a public dustbin, which was around 10 meters away from me. Being the neighbour of a dustbin turned out to be inspiring. Some interesting facts that I discovered about the dustbin were pretty similar to a Christian life.
A nasty dustbin filled with smelly trash
In the beginning, I noticed that seldom did people come close to dump their rubbish. Most of them stayed a certain distance away and threw their garbage to the dustbin, especially some youngsters. They didn't even care when they “missed the target”. They just left when the very action of throwing was finished.
As far as I am concerned, the following two reasons may explain most of people’s responses. The biggest cause is that the dustbin was considerably stinky. Meanwhile, rubbish that fell on the ground prevented people from coming close.
Isn’t it the picture of our life before we were covered by Jesus’ righteousness! Before we accepted Jesus as our Lord, we followed our sinful nature, as described in Galatians chapter 5, versus 19-21, such as sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
How could a Holy God put up with all those filthy characters? Before salvation, we were “sin containers” and our sin separated us from God. At that time, we must be as stinky as the dustbin in front of God!
However, the merciful God didn't abandon us but saved us so that we could come near to Him.
Cleaners who gave a thorough cleansing
Later on, a cleaner came with his garbage truck. He emptied all the rubbish and swept the garbage around the dustbin. I thought that the cleaning was completed after the sweeping.
Surprisingly, I saw another scrubwoman came with some steel wool and other sanitary products. She began to scrub the dustbin! While most of the people walked around it, which was the last treatment I could imagine for a dustbin! After the cleaning and scrubbing, the dustbin looked nice and neat.
Isn’t it the same with God’s salvation through Jesus Christ! Instead of walking away from wicked sinners, God cleaned our sin by nailing his one and only Son on the cross. Not only that, He makes Christ live in us, helping us to lead holy lives.
More importantly, the great salvation occurred only once which required no repetitive work, for he sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself (Hebrew chapter 7, versus 27).
A new dustbin that serves others
With time passing by, there was another group of people who came fairly often to the dustbin — ragmen, people whom I had paid little attention to previously.
If I remember correctly, there were at least 8 ragmen who visited the dustbin during half a day. Some of them were searching for abandoned clothes or utensils for reusing. Some of them collected plastic bottles and cartons in order to sell them for money. I couldn’t help wondering that if a lowly dustbin could be of many different uses to others, how much more shall a Christian be the blessing to others?
God called and cleansed us for reasons! As Peter put in his letter: but you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter chapter 2, versus 9)
Isn’t it stunning that we ignoble sinners were given the chance to be God’s witnesses? For the same reason God chose Israel, we Christians are supposed to be witnesses of His glory and transmitter of His blessings, for we are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
(Matthew chapter 5, versus 14)
Cheng Xingyi (known as Cindy) was born and brought up in central China. Cindy enjoys travelling and reading history books. Cindy is inspired by talking with local people when travelling abroad experiencing different parts of the world, as well as herself.
Cheng Xingyi's previous articles may be found at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/cindy-cheng.html