Day of Refuse

No refuse is not a typo in the title, I did not mean refuge, I meant refuse. In my little corner of the world, today is garbage day. On my morning walk I passed quite a few garbage cans and plastic bags all waiting for the truck to come by and collect them. Garbage day is a day I look forward too — I know that may make me seem odd. The fact still remains, I like garbage day. I do not like going around the house and collecting the garbage. I do not particularly care for opening the big can to put more in (especially in the hot Alabama summer). I like garbage day because my garbage becomes the problem of someone else. By the time I get home this afternoon my big can will be empty and there will be very little trash left in the house (only the paper towels and coffee grinds from breakfast this morning).

In the days of Nehemiah when they were rebuilding Jerusalem and her walls, Nehemiah mentions the “Refuse Gate (NKJV)” in Neh 2;13, 3:13-14, and 12:31. I find it interesting that the King James, ESV, ASV and RSV all refer to the gate as the “Dung Gate.” Refuse or Dung either one communicates that the purpose of the gate was the way to get trash of all kinds outside of the city. Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias confirm this use of this gate. I am certain that every city had a garbage gate of some sort. The removal of garbage is an important part of municipalities and counties. Citizens in general do not want a trashed city, people want a clean community and a healthy environment.

The apostle Paul uses the idea of “refuse” or “dung” in Philippians 3:8, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (the ESV and NKJV use “rubbish” where the KJV and RSV have “dung”). In context, Paul is saying all he had gained as a Judaism, all he could claim as a Hebrew was garbage when compared with the blessings he has in Christ.

Today is a Day of Refuse: I am taking a look at my life, my little corner, my belongings, accomplishments, plans, and activities. What are they compared to being in Christ?! In the words of Paul — Rubbish, refuse, dung — garbage. I challenge you to do the same.


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