I finally did something today that I have been putting off for a very long time.....
I picked up trash on the 1/4 mile stretch of road that runs between the Foundation and Campamento!
It has been here since we moved in and the piles continued to grow. We see it daily as we go to the bus, store and anywhere outside our gates. People, as they pass by and go about their busy lives, use this stretch of road to throw away the things in their lives that they no longer care for, need, want nor know where or how to deal with it. I ignored it as long as I could until I had to tackle the problem. The main reasons I put it off for so long were:
a) Its just plain nasty! What a dirty job. Think of it, old shoes/clothes, construction debris, mucho plastico, every kind of bag you can imagine, old tv parts and many, many items which will remain unmentionable!
b) It was someone else's responsibility, ie. people on down the road, my ministry partner who was closer to it, the city of Conocoto (yeah right like that's going to happen) and how about the people who put it there! "Hey man, that's your job, not mine!"
There is a sign clearly stating not to dump trash there. We even said, Please! You would think people would listen.......then as I returned feeling good about myself I noticed in our yard that several pieces of trash were blown about everywhere from the dog, kids and my weekend projects!
Doing the right thing is much different than having the right servant heart/spirit. How can I deal with others 'trash' unless I face my own. I think that's what the Lord was trying to tell us in Matthew 7:3-5. Simply, Deal with the trash in your own yard first. Ann and I just had our 18th Wedding Anniversary this weekend. Fresh from the celebration, last night we had an disagreement/argument (and those of you who have been married about the same amount of time know all about how the play unfolds: I know where this is going, I'm going to jump to conclusions, I'm going to stop listening and make sure I get my points in, ect.....) The particulars are not important other than we both had valid points and most of our facts right. I messed up. Instead of leaning on my own pattern of behavior and response, I should have heeded the same advice that Paul gave Timothy in a time of transition in 2 Timothy 1:13 (by holding on tightly to the Lord's resources, not our own) "a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus."
Whatever life presents, whatever we are doing, regardless of what continent we are on, culture that surrounds us or whose trash is laying on the ground: Deal with it, Pick it up, Get rid of it - Burn it completely, don't just move it to another place! People are watching us. Lets deal with Our Trash (Nuestra Basura). There's too much at stake - our families, marriages, kids and peoples eternity. Don't settle for a band-aid, a temporary or temporal fix when we can have a permanent one that lasts forever.
I'm grateful today He reminds me that He always picks up after me and gives me another pattern to follow......