I've always preferred the word "rubbish" over "trash" or "garbage", but never been bold enough to use it in daily life. I think this comes from a secret obsession with British people and their charming words for things, ordinary things... things like calling car trunks "the boot", cookies "biscuits" and flashlights "torches". I love it and always secretly hoped I would marry a southern gentleman with a British accent. So strange I know, what an odd desire, but ironically I married a southern gentleman who can pull off a killer British accent. Ha! Win. :)
Anyways, all things British and fabulous is not the subject of this post. Don't even get me started on Downton Abbey and London. (Swoon). Anyways, my POINT goes back to rubbish. No one likes it, it's filthy and smelly and just... waste. Honestly, no one gives it a second thought, at least I didn't until yesterday.
Yesterday was DGroup night and during our DGroup weekly challenge video provided by the lovely Tara Leigh, she answered our questions about the text we didn't understand. Last week we wrapped up the book of Numbers, one of the more challenging books of the Bible to survive. Ha! Anyways, Numbers is mostly about the law God gave Moses for the people to live by after they left Egypt. There are LOTS and LOTS of laws, most of them pertaining to animal sacrifices. Animal sacrifices were required back in those days as a payment for sin. If you sin intentionally, one or more animals had to be sacrificed to make atonement to God. If you sinned unintentionally, one or more animals had to be sacrificed to make atonement to God. If a number of other things related to sin or being unclean happened, animals and more animals were required as a way of restoring your relationship with God. The instructions for what to sacrifice and how to sacrifice and when to sacrifice are incredibly specific. There was obviously no PETA back then. Ha!
Anyways, in reading the text, it became clear that due to how often people sin and fall short (especially of all the commands God gave Moses for the people to live by) that they would be CONSTANTLY and DAILY sacrificing animals to God. This perplexed me. How could that be? How would anyone have time for anything else, other than sacrificing animals? It seems like it would be so time consuming! How did they have enough animals to even do this, given the number of people who were out in the wilderness at this time? It seems like they would wipe out the animal population long before it could flourish. Certainly they didn't do this everyday. Certainly they did it maybe once a week, ya know, to cover all their sins at once or something?
But when we asked Tara Leigh about this, she assured us that the Bible gives no indication that they did anything other than offer sacrifices when they were required. They didn't tally them all up a week or a month later and then offer up something really good to cover it all. No, for each and every sin, something had to pay the price. She explained that this shows us how wasteful sin is and how costly. For instance, imagine that for every sin you did you had to burn $100 or go slash one of your tires. That seems absurd, but that was the equivalent for them. Animals were their life source, their form of employment, means of travel, clothing, etc. The cost of sin was A LOT and a BIG deal.
Ever since last night this truth has been sitting on my mind and in my heart. Why? Because I know Jesus paid the price for sin, but I've never really considered sin that "costly" or "wasteful." I've never really looked at it through that lens. This kinda shocks me because I hate waste. I hate wasting money or throwing food out that has gone bad before we could eat it or losing something I have to replace. So if I hate waste, why do I not hate all sin and avoid it like the plague?
As I've been marinading over this I've realized that the cost of sin and wastefulness of sin goes so far beyond monetary loss.
Sin wastes our lives.
It steals our joy, peace, and faith and turns our lives into rubbish that reeks of fear and greed and wears the filthy stains of pride and self-centeredness. It trashes our relationships and leaves us lonely and broken. Sin = death and we must flee from it. All of it, not just the big stuff. Luckily for us, Jesus paid it all- all of it, not just the little stuff. No matter what you've done, Jesus' death on the cross covered it all. He was the ultimate and final sin offering, and even though we still mess up, we are no longer left slaves to sin and death, needing to burn money or slash tires everyday (so to speak) just to make things right.
My all time favorite worship song is the modern version of "Jesus Paid It All" written by our friend Alex Nifong. I've loved it for years, but after last night's DGroup it has a whole new depth and meaning to me. The chorus goes,
"Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow."
And then the bridge says,
"Oh praise the one who paid by debt and raised this life up from the dead."
It makes me cry every time I sing it because I am overwhelmed by my inadequacy and the grace given to me by Jesus. Sin made us rubbish, but he has made us new. We were all debtors, destined for death, but he has paid the bill and given us eternal life. Praise Jesus for his sacrifice and the freedom that comes from knowing him!