"In the Garbage"
April 19, 2014
For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
In Texas, barbecue is spelled with a capital "B".
After brisket and pulled pork, just about the most popular meat is barbecued ribs. About two months ago we had a friend tell us about one of the excursions he and his family had made to the local eatery, which was featuring an "all-you-can-eat-rib" night.
Those of you who have been to such a feast know eatin' ribs is a messy business.
The sauce gets on your hands, mouth, clothing, tablecloth, napkins, and just about anything else within a five-yard radius. Our friend says he was pretty sure the restaurant lost money on him, his wife, and their two teen-aged boys. At the end of the evening, they packed up the bones and the rest of the mess, put everything on their trays and deposited the conglomeration in one of the 50-gallon cans, which were situated near the restaurant's doors.
As they walked to the car, our friend reached for his keys. He reached but those keys weren't in his pocket ... nor were they in his wife's purse ... and they weren't in the vehicle's ignition.
It took about five seconds for the family to figure out there were only two places those keys could be hiding: back at their table or in the 50-gallon drum. They ran back in and questioned the busboy who had just cleared the table. Nope, he hadn't seen them.
Now the location for that which was lost was down to one: the drum by the door. You remember, the drum filled with other people's leavings -- with coleslaw, and baked beans, and corn cobs, and barbecue sauce, and really filthy napkins?
Our friend asked his family for a volunteer to go digging for the keys. Not surprisingly, nobody stepped forward.
Knowing what had to be done, the dad rolled up his sleeves, tilted the barrel, and leaned in; further and further he went down. He rummaged and moved things around. He got slimy, dirty, totally yucky. Then, at long last, he straightened up with the barbecue-slathered keys clutched in his hand.
A good story? Yes, I suppose, but nowhere near as good as the story of salvation which the Christian world has been celebrating this week. Some 2,000 years ago, the innocent Son of God left the perfection and peace of paradise and was born on earth as a human being. Jesus came into this world and lived His life amongst this world's dirty. He was hated, scorned, lied about, and murdered. All this He did so that the Triune God might reclaim that which had been lost: the souls of sinful humanity.
So that we might be saved, Jesus did a job nobody else would do or could do.
Yesterday, we remembered His crucifixion, and tomorrow we will celebrate His resurrection. But today we think of how the Savior performed a singularly unappetizing job as He lived, so we might be saved. It is a job for which He ought receive our unending thanks and ceaseless praise.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, we live in a world that is filled with jealousy, anger, greed and lust. For being willing to live amongst us, we are appreciative; for doing all which was necessary to save us, we owe You our deepest and most profound gratitude. May we show that gratitude not just tomorrow on resurrection day, but throughout all the years of our lives. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries