Garbage night. The night I dread each week. Pulling the trash cans from garage to curb when I’d rather be reading or watching sports or drilling holes into my thumb with a ballpoint pen. As an added bonus, I get to drag them over snowdrifts in the winter and rinse out maggots in the hot summer months. Nope, I’m not a fan of garbage night. Or garbage.
Interestingly, during his ministry, Jesus encountered a garbage man. He wasn’t actually a garbage man, his name was Bartimaeus, which means “Son of refuse” or “Son of filth.” A.k.a. “Garbage guy.” He was poor, homeless, and blind. His name reveals what everyone thought of him: worthless trash.
Then, in Mark 10:46-52 along comes Jesus. Bart (let’s call him Bart) goes crazy. Screaming like a maniac. People tell him to be quiet. Locals were ashamed of people like him in their town. They didn’t want Jesus to notice him. Surely the busy Rabbi wouldn’t stop for this blind beggar. But Bart knew this was his only chance. Who knows how long he had been where he was: desperate, dirty, and without hope? Suddenly, in Bart’s eyes, hope has arrived! He’s not going to let his low social standing or the people who wish he’d go away stop him. He makes sure Jesus hears his cries.
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Watch how Jesus responds.
“And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.”
What a beautiful picture of the grace God!
Not too different from the story of you and I (if you’re a follower of Jesus), huh? Think about it. We’re not any better than Bartimaeus, we might even be worse. At least Bartimaeus knew his position and who to call to for help. Many times, we think we don’t need help at all. But when God’s Spirit awakened us and we called out, Jesus answered.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” (Eph. 2:4-6)
You and I were worse than garbage, we were dead in our sins. Alive and garbage is better than dead and…well…anything else. Despite this, God doesn’t pass us by. He has mercy on us. He rescues us and gives us a new estate. While we once were dead, we’re now alive. We were enemies of God, but now we are welcomed as sons and daughters. God doesn’t treat us like garbage but loves us beyond understanding. Be encouraged that in God’s Kingdom, no one’s in a rush to throw you out. And may that knowledge spur you on to worship and devotion to the One who is rich in mercy!