Be Ye Ready… the Garbage Truck Cometh
Lessons from a New Homeowner
Recently I bought a house and began to assume the responsibilities for the care and maintenance of my new home. As this was my first experience at running a property and because I wished to make as few blunders as possible, I read every bit of information sent to me regarding the procedures of the electric company, the sanitation company, the gas, phone, etc. Therefore it was not from ignorance that “disaster” (in respect to my garbage) befell me my first week as homeowner.
The pamphlet I received from the sanitation people stressed that I should, without fail, set out my garbage container the night before scheduled pick-up. Garbage routes in my area would start at 6:00 a.m. I marked my planner and thought no more about it—that is, until Sunday evening, after dark, when my garbage can still sat securely in my carport. It was dark, not dusk, but quite dark and I felt secure in my new home, and not in the least like venturing out in the dark domain. I remembered perfectly well what I had been instructed to do—but I really didn’t feel like going out, it probably wasn’t even safe to go outside the house, and besides, I thought, I am an early riser. Being autumn, I knew it would be still dark at 6:00, but I’m not the first house on the route, and whoever heard of a garbage truck being on time? Thus I reasoned, and after having a little argument with my more responsible side of self and my feelings, I concluded that I would rise up early and have the garbage out in plenty of time.
Rise up early I did, and industriously set to work vacuuming, mopping, gathering up yet more trash, and doing various activities, thinking how wise, prudent and scheduled I was. I waited for it to get light—just dawn to take out the garbage, and although it bothered me a bit that it just seemed quite “dark” outside, I set my worries aside. I had just started the dishes when I heard the sound of a truck. It was a big truck, not an ordinary one, it had big lights, and it was huge in dimension… “Oh, no, the garbage truck is here!” I screeched. Rushing to the bedroom I grabbed my large overcoat, jammed it over my nightgown, and raced out the back door. I glanced at the clock as I ran. It was 6:05 a.m. By the time I had unlocked the door and dragged my poor garbage can at a furious pace down the driveway (still in the dark), the garbage truck was far down the street. I ran on, hoping that somehow the driver would see the can on his way back and have mercy on me. Over and over in my head rang the words, “It’s your own fault. You knew to set the can out. It’s your own fault. You knew to set the can out. It’s your own fault….” And it was true. I had known, and I had chosen to believe my excuse against what was plainly the correct thing to do. Like I tell my school children, “You did it, so you suffer the consequences.”
How many Bibles are printed and sold in the world? How many people read God’s word or have read it at some time? How many people have read the instructions and listened to the warnings that God faithfully issues? I warrant a great deal more than we would predict. In His Word, God has promised that every person is given instructions on how to get to heaven; what to do to be ready for His coming. How many people are ready? What a vast crowd simply throws the instructions in the trash! Others skim the instructions and take out of context the meaning to suit their own plan. (“6:00 a.m.? I’m not the first person on the route! That truck won’t get here until seven.”) Still others have more of a respect for warnings and read carefully the printed word. However, they find things that conflict with their ways, and reason out the instructions. (“Set out the garbage? It’s dark—I was just going to bed! I’ll do it early.”) Whatever method is used—the result is that the warnings are disregarded, and on the Day of Judgment, many, many, many people will find they are not ready. Whatever the excuse, it will become irrelevant, when you are faced with the reality that warnings and instructions were sent, met unheeded, and disregarded, and God is ready to judge your case. We are told that in that day many people will scramble to repent and change their lives, just as I rushed the garbage can to the road in an attempt to make up for lost time. Folks, it was too late. It will be too late on the Judgment Day to repent and change. It will be a day too late, for all eternity. The time is now. Now is the day of salvation. Now you have a chance to live fully measured to God’s word. Today there are warnings being issued, instructions given, today is your opportunity to be ready when God comes. Don’t, please don’t waste the time in frivolous excuse. Yes, you may be young. Children can die. There is never time to put off salvation. Yes, it may cost you not to wear a tie on the job or suit pants in the working world. Don’t reason that it’s only temporary and you wouldn’t do it anywhere else. Have you heard the Word of God on the subject? If you have, and you know better, you will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment for your light and understanding.The devil works hard for us to count the little instructions as less important. “God doesn’t care how you dress. Go ahead and wear that necklace. Go ahead and tell that ‘white’ lie. It won’t hurt.” Really? It can keep you from being ready when Jesus comes.
Recently I was shopping at Goodwill and a bright object caught my eye in the window case. It was red, blue, yellow, green, etc., and looked like “school.” Being a teacher, I leaned for a better look and discovered it was a necklace, very cute and colorful—designed to compliment an elementary teacher’s dress. Before I knew it, the devil whispered, “You could wear it just at school. It’s not really an ornament—it just states what you are, like a company logo.” The devil can give some of the lamest excuses. Imagine that I should try to justify wearing ornamentation by saying it is necessary to announce to the world that I teach school. The enemy will do anything, say anything, as long as it prevents us from following the clear instructions in the Bible. He doesn’t care how we trip up, just so we fall and be unprepared for the day of the Lord. It is so important that we keep our mind focused on the warnings and directions guiding us to be ready for the judgment. The devil will get us sidetracked with reasoning of the mind, confusion from different believers, and whatever else he can get us to listen to so we will fall short at the day of judgment. Don’t listen to him! Plug your ears and set your face toward heaven. Determine to live ready to meet God at all times, at all costs. Yes, it will cost—sometimes dearly—but it will be worth it to live prepared and ready to go. Many people in this world live with fear. Obeying God and His word to the letter will take out all fear in your heart. It will take out the apprehension in your life. It will give you a peace and security that you have not yet dreamed, to be ready, prepared to meet God.