I was amazed when I saw the colorful, intricate construction on a youtube video. It was of tiny houses, barely bigger than a doghouse, with doors, round little windows, and slanted roofs, so the rain would run off. All of them were on wheels, so they could be moved. They actually looked cozy.
But they were no doghouses, but shelters for the homeless in Oakland. They were entirely made of trash. Garbage, after all, can be recycled.
These homes are part of a project set up by an artist, Gregory Kloehn, who wants to supply the homeless with places of their own. Mr. Kloehn searches the streets for illegally dumped garbage, furniture, and material and uses it to make many such houses for the homeless. Some of his contraptions are real works of art. It may not be much, but it means the world for a homeless person, and it brings hope and light. And in this case, garbage is being used to bring that hope.
That night when I took my quiet time, I pondered this man’s project. This man was willing to put his talents to use in a creative way, just so he could make a difference. What talents do I possess, that I can use to make a difference? God gave all of us special talents, and when we yield them to God, however small they may seem, He will use them. It’s important to God, for in God’s eyes everybody is equally important.
I was also reminded that our own wealth can easily make us somewhat indifferent. What we consider trash is often treasured by others, who have less.
I remember the time when we were living in Brazil and I put my old, broken boots outside the gates to be picked up by the garbage collectors. They were leather boots, but had a big, gaping and irrepairable hole in one of the soles. I had not turned back yet before someone snatched them away. One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure.
Thus, recycling garbage can be an interesting subject, especially considering what Jesus told me next in my ponderings: “You were once garbage too. Not to Me, but that’s what people thought of you. I recycled you too.”
In my mind I went back to those days when I walked the hills of this world as a lost wondering soul; confused, groping in darkness, and with nowhere to go. In those days, I had no faith and there was no light. I was like that pair of broken boots that I dumped outside the gate, as the world had no hope for me. “Poor boy, he’s good for the trash.”
But Jesus snatched those boots away and smiled and said: “I can recycle you. I can make something beautiful out of you.”
Everything we do should be for the recycling business. We need to recycle this old world and get it ready for Heaven. The world is full of people that need recycling. Some more than others, but that’s the job we all have been given as ambassadors for the King. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in Heaven.*
* Matthew 5:16 KJV