ODJ: Beautiful Garbage

March 1, 2017 

READ: Revelation 21:1-7 

“Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true” (v.5).

I once came across a website featuring sculptures made out of old toys, plastic spoons, typewriters, cans and even hangers. In an introduction to these pieces of art made of rubbish, Vitaly Friedman wrote this about the artists: “These talented individuals see possibility in the things we throw away every day. Instead of heading to the art supply store they just collect common trash and turn it into works of amazing art.”

The website brought to mind several conversations I’ve had over the last few years with people in different ministry contexts. Pastors and college students, the elderly and the young, have confided in me that they feel worthless—as if they have made an irredeemable mess of their lives. I too have experienced days of discouragement when I’ve questioned life’s meaning and purpose. I have also wondered if God could do anything with the garbage-like mess I’ve created.

Genesis 1:2 tells us, “The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” God created our beautiful earth out of nothing, out of what was “formless and empty”. If God can create such beauty out of nothing, and if He can inspire artists to create artwork out of garbage, can’t He make amazing works of art out of our lives? Yes, He can make all things new! (Revelation 21:5).

This begins when we receive salvation by belief in Jesus (John 3:16). If, as believers, we’ve messed up, we can repent and experience His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). We are God’s children, and even though we fail at times, He’s still a God who can create beauty—even from our garbage! (Revelation 21:7).

—Marlena Graves

365-day plan: Joshua 3:1-17

Read John 21:15-25 and reflect on how Jesus brought beauty out of the mess Peter created by denying Him. 
What garbage do you need to bring to Jesus in repentance today? How does it inspire you to know God made incredible beauty out of that which was “formless and empty”?