Yesterday Clarky and I (my joyful 3yr old) took a couple of trips to the town dump with Tom’s trailer. It often becomes a ‘missionary’ community event when someone is going with a load. With dismal city services in our town, it’s best to take it upon yourself for your trash disposal.. but it’s not a fun experience entering the dump to say the least. Come over sometime and I’ll give you a tour. This trip was a bit different as I’ve been seeking God this week with more zeal then usual for me. A hunger for reading and implementing more productive routines and habits of mind have been sincerely inspired, I praise Him for it. Anyway, I’ve been attempting to cut myself off from all modes of unproductive media engagement. For most of you living in the same ‘mediasphere” as I do, we’re rarely de-tached from the world. Whether it’s an iPhone pumping in real time email messages or texts, the daily perusing of google news, checking up on the status of Michael Jackson, to make sure he’s still dead. Our homes, even in the center of Ukraine, are filled with conduits of the world, a world that represents anti-Christian morals, and stands opposed to the Christian worldview. We are impacted by, I’m convinced anyway, the constant connection, the constant music, the noise, the priorities of the world in that they are telling us what, or who is important. They define for us success, and influence our decision making and purchases. I read the other night of a university that imposes a forced 24hr fast from media in one of it’s classes during a semester, and it literally causes students to hyperventilate. They need post dramatic counselling as a result of the blaring silence.
What does this have to do with the dump? Or a kitten? Well, it was with this backdrop and heart conviction that I entered the most despised smelly dump. It is repugnant, the stench buckles your knees. I try my best to hold my breath and empty the trailer in 7 seconds but I have to take that second.. and third breath. They seriously need a tractor in there pushing it around and covering it right? The garbage sits, and changes chemical properties in the hot sun. The flies, the.. ok, enough said. In the midst of my ‘disconnect’ from the world, and attempt to maintain a purer set of eyes, ears and heart than I have for the Lord recently, I notice a Ukrainian adult magazine right at my feet amidst the refuse of the town. I felt God’s sickness over sin, the combination of the odorous offense and the absolute destruction of a life of sin. In that moment I considered how tempting sin really is, how deceptive our enemy really is. He preys on our weaknesses, twists and whispers us toward the edge. Think of the marriages and families destroyed by secret sin uncovered in ‘due time’. There a magazine sat, appropriately surrounded by what it represents. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not denying the temptation that represents, but it was in that dump that I felt God confirm what I already believed Him to be saying to me recently, “Get the world out of your heart,” and I had a first rate example of what worldliness and sin looked like to God as He views our hearts. How can we even think to be attracted to things that are so vile? Which one of us would ever consider frequenting the dump on purpose, for pleasure?
For many of us, the ‘world’ may be sexual temptation, and you are not guarding your eyes with any sort of diligence. Let me warn you as an experienced prisoner of sin, flee from wickedness, run to the Cross, and humble yourself before God today. For others, it’s listening to the world’s lies through an over consumption of media. Lies about insecurity, definitions of beauty, pride or success. Whatever the ‘world’ represents to you right now, I hope you are filled with the same awareness I have been recently about the nature of sin, and it’s destructive, and disgusting result. Our enemy has been practicing our demise for a few thousand years, we’re not as wise as we think we are, especially if we consider our own strength and wisdom to battle this world alone. Run to your Savior, you’ll find grace to turn and overcome your sin. Confess your struggles with a trusted friend, only pride would keep you from doing this, which confirms your sorry state if you are unwilling. Harsh words perhaps, but Christ deserves our freedom from sin, He paid the highest cost for us to live ‘set apart’. In today’s world of technology, we can’t be so passive in our attitudes, in my small world anyway, I’ve been awakened to the realty of the worldly influence, and I’m being more purposeful from here on out. If you interested in hearing more about ‘how’ I’m doing this, email me for details! firstname.lastname@example.org Let me plug a book too while I’m on this, “Worldliness” by CJ Mahaney, you can buy it at Amazon.
Enter the Kitten. At first I thought I was hearing things. Clark shouts, “a kitten!”, and sure enough, stashed between a few piles of garbage was a little black and white kitten that had been dumped off, literally. I am not an animal lover, those of you that know me will confirm that Deb and I feel that actual human children are about as much work and much more rewarding, so we’ve opted for a few extra of them instead. But in that dump, that stinky, disease infested Gehenna, I couldn’t leave that poor little thing. Even the Tin Man had a heart! Catching that silly thing proved to be a youtube worthy event. Every inch toward it, it leaped deeper into the pile of garbage. Soon, I was 20 meters deep into the most disgusting mess you could imagine. I sometimes wonder if God seriously chuckles at the situations we get ourselves in. I had on crocs and shorts, and desperately trying to jump from safe pile to the next. Finally, I cornered the little guy, and found 2 more kittens along the way.. there was a whole litter in there. Well, I’m not mother Teresa, and I know Deb has her limits, I could only take one. The little guy took the long drive home with us, clinging to Clark, they were both about as freaked out too.
I didn’t intend to write all this, but my heart is full and maybe someone will be blessed to hear of Jesus Christ and His redemption. You see, even as stinky and odorous, or potentially health threatening jumping through the rubbish of an entire village in Ukraine may be, it doesn’t compare to the lengths God Holy Son has gone, sent from a loving Father, to save you from your sins. He suffered because your a sinner, unable to save and redeem yourself. Instead of running to Christ, we’ve run from Him. We deserve eternal neglect, but instead we have His eternal attention. Rejoice that He’s found you, a desperately dirty sinner, cleansed you and calls you out of the world, and to Himself. If you aren’t a believer, be assured that you are in fact living in that dump, a dump of worldliness and compromise, a life that will be found out, and found guilty. Turn to Jesus, His cross reaches into the most sinful heart and will indeed take you to a better place with Him.
Dumpy the Kitten now resides (at least temporarily!) at 37 Nezeleschnosty, in Rzshyschiv Ukraine with our family.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Thes 5:23
Bruce & Deb