These may include daily life experiences. Indeed, personal experiences, I have concluded, truly are the best source for illustrating points within messages.
But there are many other sources for illustrations as well. These may include books, web pages, movies, television, music, and/or radio shows. And they often include stories in the news. And this past week, I came across two such stories that serve this purpose quite well.
The first had to do with a raccoon that inadvertently hitched a ride on a garbage truck in Rosslyn, Virginia. After the little critter was spotted ensconced on the back of the truck, help was soon on the way. This was on February 17. A similar story involving a ride along inside a garbage truck appeared some six days earlier. Only this one was a bit more troubling.
On February 9, rescuers at the Scottsdale, Arizona Fire Department were notified that a man was trapped inside a garbage truck. Apparently, the man had been asleep inside a dumpster when it had earlier been emptied into the truck. Some ten miles later, the driver heard him screaming and notified authorities, who rescued the poor man.
It appears that both the man and then the raccoon a few days later turned out okay, each a bit ruffled but otherwise not too seriously injured as a result of their respective experiences. For that I am thankful.
Now, I have no way of knowing what the particular circumstances were that led to either being where they originally were or ending up as they did. Everyone is free to speculate. But the two incidents together, occurring as they did barely six days apart, certainly serve to underscore the importance of letting go of what needs to be discarded.
We live in a world where hoarding behavior has been recognized and declared a sickness. Entire television programs have been devoted to the phenomenon. There certainly comes a time when all of us must let go of things. To overly cling to them can prove to be disadvantageous at best and harmful at worst.
But my suspicion is that neither the man nor the animal above was where they were when their adventures began simply because they did not want to let go of anything. More likely, the former was squatting for the night and the latter was dumpster diving for supper.
Perhaps a better truth to take away from these two similar stories is that everything in this world is simply passing away. Literally, the material “stuff” of this world is here today and then gone tomorrow. And if we choose to have too big of a connection to it, we will inevitably be born along with it - likely to our own demise.
Perhaps it was for this reason that Jesus, in His famed “sermon on the Mount” (in the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6, verses 19-21) admonished all who would hear as follows:
19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
In truth, compared to the splendor of Heaven, even the very best this world has to offer is mere rubbish, destined to be destroyed amidst the vermin who gnaw at it. For, one day, it will go the way of all garbage.
Be careful, then, not to get swept along with, no matter how enticing it may seem. Tarry too long at it, or venture too close to it, and you may just find yourself taken for a ride! And this ride may well take you some place you never really wanted to go!
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