Thursday, January 20, 2011

Throw It Overboard

 Psalm 139:23-24
When man first fashioned vessels to carry him across the seas, the necessity to dispose of accumulated garbage became a problem.  Because of the length of time that was required to sail across the vast waters in search of distant shores, leaving his refuse on board would have created health problems, not to mention the stench that would accompany him on the long trip, or the inconvenience of piling it out of the way, to name just a few.  Something had to be done with it, and his only reasonable option was to throw it over the side of the ship into the briny deep.

Today, our shorelines are littered with the centuries of flotsam that the birds and sea creatures found inedible and which they ignored.  But the evidence that this is a continued practice is obvious to any serious beachcomber who spends hours poking through the twisted piles of kelp and seaweed that line the surf.  Treasures can be found among the trash, but it takes a diligent soul to strike out following a storm to see what the turbulent waves have carried onto land.

To most, there is a twisted logic in casting trash into the sea; mainly because there is a vast difference between the trash of the past and the garbage of today.  The creatures that inhabit the sea become entangled in the plastics and other materials that do not break down in the earth’s elements, and toxic wastes that deform or kill have done a huge disservice to the environment.  Man is unmindful of their inability to rot and decay, or to disperse.  I once saw photos of islands of plastic debris floating along the ocean’s currents and filling the harbors and lining the shores.  It was not a pretty site, and it did bring to light a growing problem.  But as with every problem, there is usually a solution.  It is not necessary to become a raging environmentalist to know that the problem can be taken care of.  It only requires education, reason, thought, and ingenuity to bring it about, rather than constant complaint and finger-pointing, which is more in line with the earth-first crowd.

There is a similarity to what is found floating on the surface of the earth's waters and the practice of surrounding ourselves with unnecessary stuff that we amass in our spiritual lives.  Each is capable of creating a pile of refuse that eventually will become overbearing.  The items in our trash heap can be as seemingly benign as complacency, or as poisonous as heresy that comes about by embracing false teaching and deception.  Add to the mounting trash pile bad doctrine, our own reasoning, legalism, pride, and arrogance, and the fumes given off by us become increasingly offensive.  As the pile grows, it begins to create a stench that spreads and permeates everything about us.  Before long, the pile of garbage we have created begins to become a huge problem, taking up the space that should be reserved for sound Biblical teaching, and threatening to bury us forever in its filth.

Like the mariners of old who realized the importance of ridding their ship of unwanted garbage, the Christian should also keep a wary eye on  what may be polluting his own spirituality.  Whatever he finds among it that may be affecting his walk with Christ, or  that which is offensive to God, is a trash heap that should be thrown overboard.  There should be within him a desire to dispose of anything that threatens to infect or damage the relationship he has with Him.  In doing so, he rids the atmosphere of his walk and his talk of any unpleasant aromas; the scent of his faith more pleasing to God.  And as the Lord combs through the surf of our faith, He will find His treasures on the surface instead of buried among worthless trash.

Have you taken the time to survey the possibility of a growing mound of garbage in your spiritual life?  If not, it would be a good idea to check and see if there is debris that needs to be eliminated.  And do not be afraid to throw it overboard.  The sea will not be damaged by it.  Rather, it will consume it and disperse it to its depths, never to be seen - or smelled - again.

Once done, the voyage will be unencumbered of the excess weight the world brings, and the sweet and pleasant winds of Truth will fill your sails as the Lord carries you safely to His clean and undefiled harbor.

No comments: