Yet, he arguably wound up being remembered more for an ad campaign he undertook near the end of his life, when serving as a pitchman for American Express traveler’s cheques, he uttered the now famous tag line: “Don’t Leave Home Without Them!”
The truth be known, there are probably certain things we should never leave home without in this modern era. These might include our driver’s licenses, our debit cards, our smart phones, and similar such essentials for living in today’s world.
But sometimes, it might well be appropriate to make certain that we do leave some things behind. Not everything needs to be carried with us throughout life. A recent episode serves to illustrate and underscore this well.
Being semi-retired, my wife and I have a little less money and a little more time. For this reason, we have learned to economize. Accordingly, we cancelled our trash collection service, preferring instead to haul our refuse to the local recycle center on our own.
On a recent trip there, I unloaded several bags of garbage into the receptacle before dutifully dispensing carboard, newspaper, plastic bottles, and a few old batteries into their respective collection bins. After completing this process, I returned to my truck, buckled up, and proceeded to drive out onto the road. Imagine my surprise to see, sitting right beside the exit gate, a trash can!
I laughed as I thought to myself: “Now, what a place for a trash can! After all, isn’t the whole point that everyone proceeding through this gate now no longer has any trash to deposit?!” And yet, the longer I thought about it as I drove away, the more I realized that it is indeed likely that people come to the one place where they are meant to unload their garbage and still go away from there carrying some of it with them!
What a picture of how we so often operate, especially in regard to our spiritual lives! How many people come to the altar to lay a burden down, only to carry it with them when they depart? How many people come to the throne of grace whey are given the opportunity to unburden themselves only to cling to some portion of that burden as they return to their daily lives?
In First Peter chapter 5, verses 6-7 (NLT), we read: “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” Peter’s admonition is apropos here. He does not tell us to give only a portion of our worries and cares to God, but rather all of them!
Maybe then, an extra trash can at the exit is a good thing! Maybe, just maybe, we all need to be reminded that when we leave the dump, we need to leave all of our garbage there behind us! We do not have to take any portion of it with us. Nor do we need to.
The same is true for our shortcomings. When God forgives us of our transgressions, He does so far all of them, not for part of them. And if He is willing to take this full burden from us, then we should certainly be willing to leave all of it with Him!