Connecting People to Jesus


DAILY DEVOTIONAL – June 23, 2021

“Trash to Treasure”


Prayer:  Lord Jesus, without Your perfect life lived in our place and Your perfect blood shed for our sins, we would be laid to waste by the wrath of a holy and righteous God.  Thank You, Jesus, for being all that we could never be and doing for us what we could never and would never do for ourselves.  Help us to live in and share Your love with others.  Amen.


Scripture: Luke 5:27-32

27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.  29 And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Devotional – “Trash to Treasure”

It’s said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  What appears to be worthless garbage to one person may be of immeasurable value to another.  There is a great real-world example of this today.  The Landfill Philharmonic is an orchestra comprised of disenfranchised and impoverished children from the South American country of Paraguay who play on orchestral instruments literally made from items found in the local landfill.  In one example from the film documentary that you can watch online, you see one student playing beautiful music on a cello made from an empty oil drum with a broken and discarded meat tenderizer serving as the peg around which the strings of the cello are wound.  Though the orchestra literally grew out of the garbage, the orchestra today is renowned throughout the world and tours regularly.

How does one person’s trash become the object for which people pay good money to go see performed on stage?  What makes something or someone truly valuable?  While I think there are certainly a wide-ranging variety of answers to these questions, at the heart of what determines the value of almost anything is what is needed and desired the most.  If there is no need, or at the very least no desire, then it will be difficult to find any value at all.  The kids and families of the Landfill Orchestra who already lived in one of the world’s poorest areas, were hit with a natural disaster that left them destitute.  They were left desiring and needing everything, so everything became of immeasurable value…even the landfill.

A person who believes they have all that they need is deprived of desire.  Those who know poverty and have nothing value everything, and so they are able to receive and possess so much more.  In response to the religious elite Pharisees who criticized Him for associating with and extending mercy to those they found to be deplorable, Jesus says “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

A person who believes they have no chains cannot be set free.  A person who believes they understand cannot learn.  A person who believes they can see everything is blind to revelation.  It is the captive who has the hope of freedom, those who desire to know truth that will find it, and the blind who will have their eyes opened.  So, Jesus says in Luke 4, quoting Isaiah 61 as a prophesy about Himself, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”

All throughout the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ ministry, we see time and time again that it was those who believed themselves to be worthy of God’s favor, who believed that they were righteous and “good enough” for God, who failed to see Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God that He in fact was and is.  They viewed Christ’s love and mercy as evil and wrong because they refused to believe that they themselves were in equal need of a Savior as were the prostitutes and tax collectors.  Instead, they believed it was God that needed them, that is was God that needed their obedience and their faithfulness, and that God needed them to shame and despise everyone else who was not as self-righteous and holy as they were.

By contrast, those who were not in denial about their sin and desperate condition before the holy, righteous eyes of the God who sees the secrets of the heart of all men, were able to have their eyes opened by Jesus and their sins forgiven by Him. To those who were poor in spirit, to those who wept and mourned over their own sin, to those who knew their guilt before God and their desperate need for His love and grace, Jesus was and is the Savior of the world and the Son of God who left the glory and splendor of heaven to come into this sinful mess of a world to take on our poverty, bear our shame, and give up all that He had on the cross, even His own life in our place, so that the sick could be made well, the poor could be made rich in spirit toward God, so that those who weep and mourn would be comforted, so that the lost would be found and the dead would live and be raised through faith in Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

God so loved the world that when He saw how lost and worthless in sin we had become, He didn’t see something that had to be thrown away and discarded, He saw a treasure, He saw sinners who could be remade into something beautiful.  In sending His beautiful, perfect Son to live and die in our place, God has provided that new life for all who confess their sin, receiving in full and relying completely on the righteousness and worthiness of Christ who has transformed trash into treasure.

Thanks for joining me for another daily devotional and remember that God has forgiven yesterday, is with you today, and has already taken care of tomorrow. Amen.