One Sunday evening a couple summers ago, we were out for a walk in our neighborhood. It was garbage night and some people had already put their garbage to the curb for pick up the next morning. We passed one such house and Leslie noticed something that caught her eye — it was a Christmas decoration that was more than what you expect to see in someone’s garbage.
Upon closer inspection it was an extraordinary piece of garbage. In fact, it wasn’t garbage at all. It was a misfit decoration of some considerable value that someone was discarding.
Perhaps the owner didn’t want it anymore. Perhaps the owner had hoped someone who garbage picks might see it and recognize it for the treasure that it is and give it a home. This evening WE were those garbage pickers.
We quickly recognized the value of this piece and created a plan to have it for our own. Leslie would stay with the item curbside, and Ed would go back to get the car and come pick them up. Ed hurried back home, got the car, and picked up Leslie and their newly found Christmas treasure.
Back home, we worked to clean the item up. It wasn’t long before we could see how magnificent this Christmas decoration was – a hand-made tin train called the Santa Express. It was beautiful. It was painted in rich crimson and green and gold and blue colors with Santa hanging out the window ringing a bell. It appeared to be decades old, harkening back to a time when things were made well and built with pride to last.
We loved it!
That next Christmas we displayed it proudly for all to see. Guests that came to the house commented on the wonderful conversation piece. They wondered about its origin. They were surprised when we told them we had just found it in the garbage earlier that year. We were so proud of it!
When Christmas was over, we stored it, and once again this Christmas decorating season we brought it out again. We display it with pride, and intend to for years to come.
And to think this could have been disposed of in a garbage dump!
What treasures have you found discarded by someone else? What things of value do you throw out that could be given away to someone else or sold to someone who appreciates its value?
We seem to live in a disposable society. Everything has a “useful life” and then gets thrown out.
Maybe we should look for things of quality and value, care for them, and pass them down to generations to come.
God doesn’t make garbage. He has made each one of us with great care. He doesn’t see us as disposable. What one of us may see as trash, another will recognize as a treasure. And we can be thankful when they do.