Over And Above
Our trash pickup day is on Wednesday.
Our trash men and recycling men are very punctual.
Customers are encouraged to put their trash and recycling out the night before.
If you forget to put it out the night before, it is highly unlikely you will catch them in time.
I listened to a message was sent a few days before our scheduled pick up day.
Due to the Fourth of July holiday, your trash will not be picked up as scheduled.
Your rescheduled trash day will be Saturday, July 7.
Please make sure to put your trash and recycling out the night before to ensure pickup.
I wrote the date as a reminder on a post-it note.
The next morning on my walk, I noticed that the neighbor next door had put their trash out.
Two large trash cans and two recycling bins were at the end of their driveway.
I wondered if they had not received the message.
For three days, the trash cans were at the end of their driveway.
It did not make sense to bring them back down the long driveway again.
It was not a problem.
Not until the day of the rescheduled pickup.
When I walked that morning, I heard the crows.
They were so loud, I thought of the old Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Birds.
Vultures will gather when there is a carcass nearby.
Crows gather when there is trash that is easily accessible to them.
Trash is an easy meal for the crows.
However, their eating habits are disgusting.
The crows will pick and pull at any trash bag to get the food scraps inside.
I noticed that the trash bags were the thick multi-ply ones.
The strong trash bags made no difference to the crows.
The bags were ripped to shreds in many places.
As I passed their house, at least six crows were having a feast.
Everything our neighbors ate was visible on the road.
Without gloves or a trash bag, I could not pick up the trash that was strewn all over.
I empathized with the trash men.
I wondered how many other houses may have put their trash out days ago?
I wondered how many other crows were feasting right about now?
I came inside after my walk and began my early morning watering.
As I watered the plants on my side porch I heard the trash truck.
I thought of the food scraps that littered the otherwise clean street.
My heart went out to the trash men and the messy job they had ahead of them.
Their job is to empty the large trashcans into the trash truck.
The contents of our trashcans gets dumped into the truck.
The trash men are careful to place the trash cans right where they found them.
They never leave the trash cans open or laying on their side.
The day got quite busy and I actually forgot to look at the place where the trash had been.
The next morning, when I went on my walk, I could not believe my eyes.
Every morsel, every grain of rice, was gone.
Every shred of the multi-ply trash bags had disappeared.
The trash cans and recycling bins were still at the end of the driveway.
The trash men went over and above for the sake of someone else.
They did not have to do that.
They are not responsible for picking up what the crows ate, but they did.
I witnessed an example of hesed.
Hesed, is an untranslatable Hebrew word.
It is the defining characteristic of God in the Old Testament.
The word, hesed, is usually translated many ways but most often, it is translated loving kindness.
Christian songwriter, author, and Bible teacher, Michael Card defines hesed beautifully.
The one from whom I should expect nothing gives me everything.
Hesed is usually a verb.
A person does, hesed.
The trash men did hesed.
They were the ones from whom our neighbors should have expected nothing.
The trash men had a job to do and did it.
The trash men, from whom our neighbors should have expected nothing, did everything.
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)
The priest and the Levite did nothing for the man lying on the side of the road.
Perhaps, because of their duties in the temple, they did not want to become unclean.
A despised Samaritan, with whom the Jews did not associate, helped the man.
The Samaritan did hesed.
The Samaritan is the one from whom the man should have expected nothing.
The Samaritan is the one from whom the man received everything.
Jesus told that parable as an example.
Jesus knew that we struggle with hesed, not as recipients but as doers.
We are told to go and do likewise.
We are to do hesed.
We are to do hesed for one another because we have One from whom we should expect nothing.
That same One gave us everything and He has the scars to prove it.