To What Purpose Is This Waste?

scpChristian Living, Forgiveness, Will of God

“But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?” (Matthew 26:8).

We, at our house, have a converted garage and in that converted garage we have a washing machine along with a dryer. Due to my wife’s ill health, I am the one who does laundry. I am really quite good at it! Ha!

Our washing machine died the other day and went to Heaven! It was several decades old at the time of its death and for sure had reached the age of accountability. The new one was so very complicated. I hate reading instructions or asking someone how to do something. Ha!

Above our washing machine is a little shelf where we put old rags. They are clean, but old. Now at one time each one of those old rags were a part of a pretty garment or maybe it use to be apart of a towel, old shirt, old dress, or maybe one of my wife’s bikinis! Ha! The garments have worn out and now become old rags.

These old rags were once a part of a nice useful garment or towel. Once it was something that was admired greatly. Someone took time to pick out this garment from among many garments. Old rags used as dust rags, if you please.

Outside our carport door is a blue plastic container where we place papers and plastic items we are throwing away. Instead of placing it into the trash container we keep it separate so it can be recycled. Many folks have a separate bag for aluminum cans, which can be also recycled.

At one time those papers, plastic containers, and aluminum cans were useful and used. They were objects of our desires. We at one time traveled to the store and desired to have some diet coke. We wanted those diet cokes and once we were finished drinking the diet coke we discarded the can, which a few days earlier we longed to buy!

There was a purpose to this waste! It is there to be recycled and used again.

In my Mama’s old timey sewing machine with the foot pedals I can still remember the drawers on the side where she placed little scrapes of material. They were called remnants!

What she would do is take old garments that were tattered and worn. She would take the good part of the material and she would stick those remnant pieces inside of those drawers. So, there was a purpose to the waste!

When Mama would collect enough of them she would make them into a quilt. At age 98 Mama went home to be with the Lord on Christmas Day of 2010. Up until her last year she quilted regularly. Our home and the homes of many other people are filled with those quilts.

To what purpose is this waste? To what purpose are these remnants? They are being used now to keep someone warm. When those remnants are put together and sown together people are warmed.

By the way when you take a bunch of remnants like God’s people and sew us together a lot of people’s hearts can be warmed. Thus there is a purpose to this so-called waste. The purpose was to make a quilt for folks to have warmth.

I drive down Highway 80 in East Texas traveling east toward Hallsville, Texas, and I see a place where old wrecked cars are being stored. Every one of those cars at one time was the object of someone’s covetousness at one time. Someone saw one of those old cars one time when they were new and said I’d like to have that car.

From all of the cars they could afford they picked out that one particular car. At one time that car was the object of almost adoration. Now those cars are old and wrecked and they are placed into a giant field.

To what purpose is this waste? The purpose of this waste is for them to proved parts for other cards. If you need a transmission then go to the junkyard and they are there for this very purpose. If you need a bumper then go to this field of so-called waste and you will find one to buy. If you need a car door then go to this field and find the right model for the right year and then you will discover a purpose for this waste.

I see people going through garbage cans looking for someone else’s’ waste. In those garbage cans I see people looking for something someone else has discarded. They are looking for old aluminum cans. Yes, there is a purpose for this waste!

When I was a boy we would go around the neighborhood and collect old newspapers. We would find enough of them to sell for recycling.

That which was the object of others attention and that which they would spend money to buy would be cast aside and I would gather it up and sell it. That which we cannot wait to read and then just as quickly dispose of is not waste for it can be recycled.

If you don’t think the newspaper isn’t valuable then you let it not be delivered sometime and you will see how important it is! Then it is discarded as quickly as it is purchased. As a boy we would sell those old newspapers and make money, while others recycled them. To what purpose is this waste? Those newspapers will be recycled and used once again.

My Mama used to take feed sacks after the feed was used up and from them make dresses. To what purpose was this waste? It was to make dresses. Now those feed sacks were once used to carry feed for the animals but now they are used up, old, and worn. To what purpose is this waste? The purpose of that waste is to have nice dresses made out of those feed sacks.

I see an old fruit jar on the back porch or an old pickle jar on the back porch. Now at one time they were on the shelf containing pickles or fruit, but now they are on the back porch all stacked up. To what purpose is this waste? The purpose of this waste was that we would use them for glasses. In fact at our home we still do save fruit jars to be used as glasses or for vases to hold flowers.

When I was seven or eight our family lived in a ghetto apartment building on Arcadia Court in Kalamazoo, Michigan. My Mama would take me down to a little clothing store behind the Catholic Church and they would give her clothes for me to wear. These were clothes no one else wanted. To what purpose was this waste? The purpose was so an seven-year-old boy would have clothes to wear.

When I was a lad we moved to Galesburg, Michigan, and lived in a cinder block house with no central heat or central air. All we had was a coal furnace to heat the house.

We could not afford to buy a newspaper so the dear lady next door would save up her newspapers and give them to our family to read. All of our news was one week late. All the sports scores were one week late.

To what purpose was this waste? The purpose was for us to read and then save them to wrap our school lunches in. To what purpose is this waste? Thus this newspaper the dear lady next door would read we would read one week later Then a week later use them to wrap school lunches.

Mama used to have a can in the cabinet filled with old grease. Maybe it was bacon grease or old salt bacon grease in that can. She would fry dry salt bacon or bacon, then take the grease and pour it into a little can. The grease would harden. To what purpose was this waste? The purpose of this waste was to use it for lard or shortening.

I see an old tire and this tire once was very important because once it was used on the car, but no longer can it be used. I’ll tell you what we did we would take a rope, tie that rope around that old tire, hang it from a tree limb in the back yard, and make a swing out of it. It was no longer useable for a car but it was still useable for a swing for us to swing on! To what purpose was this waste?

When I was a boy we used to take an old tire hang it from a limb over a pond. Then we would use it to swing over the old pond and then drop into the water. To what purpose is this waste? We didn’t throw the tire away because we used the waste. In fact when I was a kid we did not throw any thing away.

I see an old inner tube once used inside of a tire. I see it out behind the house. To what purpose is this waste? I will tell you what it is for? It was used to make slingshots. We would take scissors and cut it and make a sling shot.

We didn’t throw the inner tube away. To what purpose is this waste? We would patch it up and blow it up to use it down at the swimming hole to float on.

I see an old pair of shoes, which were beyond use. However, at one time some one eagerly picked those shoes out to purchase. No doubt probably saved money up in order to buy those very shoes. They were new shoes, but now they are old shoes. To what purpose is this waste? We would cut out the tongue and use it on the slingshot, which was the part we would put the rock in.

I see bread wrappers in the cabinet. To what purpose is this waste? These bread wrappers were used to wrap our sandwiches with to take for school lunches. Not only that but we were instructed to bring the wrappers back home with us after school.

I see left over ties that were worn out and frayed. At one time they were used to strangle a man with. We would save up those old ties. To what purpose is this waste? We would build a homemade kite out of those old newspapers and then we would tie all the ties together to make a tail for the kite.

I see some broken skates. No they were not roller blades but the old kind of skates with four little wheels on each skate. To what purpose is this waste? We would take those wheels off of those broken skates and make little scooter.

I see some old wagon wheels off of a little red wagon. To what purpose is this waste? I see them being used to make a homemade soapbox car. We would find a rope and make a little steering wheel. This is where the original Soap Box Derby came from.

I see some old washers. To what purpose is this waste? We would dig a hole in one place and then a distance away dig another hole. Then we would pitch the washers. We didn’t throw washers away because we re-used them.

I see some horseshoes in granddad Scott’s old barn. I’m talking about real horseshoes. To what purpose is this waste? Those old horseshoes were used to play; you guessed it, a game of horseshoes. We would put a steel post in the ground in one spot and than a distance away put another steel post in the ground. We would then pitch horseshoes.


I see a young lady and she is pregnant, not married, broken hearted, and parents are broken hearted so what is the purpose of this waste?

Some would exclude her from her church. Some would shun her, ban her, bar her, black list her, gossip about her, or throw her away! Wait a minute she is not an old rag, old aluminum can, old newspaper, garment remnants, or an old car like I saw in Hallsville. She has a never dying soul. She is of potential service for God

Some would say let’s not recycle her or use her again, but you will save your old rags, old aluminum cans, old newspapers, garment remnants, parts off old cars, old feed sacks, old fruit jars, old pickle jars, old clothes, bacon grease, old tires, inner tubes, worn out ties, old shoes, bread wrappers, broken skates, old washers, and old horseshoes and use them again but not her?

Oh I see she is not as important as feed sacks, pickle jars, bacon grease, old tires, inner tubes, bread wrappers, old ties, broken skates, old shoes, old washers, old horseshoes, and old wagon wheels.

So let’s not use her. Let’s not recycle her. Let’s gossip about her. Let’s criticize her. Let’s ostracize her. Let’s exclude her. Let’s run her down.

Ladies and gentlemen I do not understand our thinking? We will use old cars again, old wheels again, broken skates again, old shoes again, bread wrappers again, old tires again, bacon grease again, pickle jars again, and feed sacks again but not her again?

By the way that is one reason God used the great men of the past. They were in the recycling business for God. This is also an indictment on this generation of leaders.

I say to you let us use her again! Let’s salvage her. Let’s recycle her. Let’s tell her of a God in Heaven who will forgive her and wants to use her again. Let’s love her back to Jesus and back to God’s will. Let’s use her again. To what purpose is this waste?

I see a church member who goes into deep sin. All of a sudden he has wrecked his life. All of a sudden he wastes his life. All of a sudden he ruins his chances for the perfect will of God for his life. To what purpose is this waste?

Some say none! Let’s scandalize him as he walks down the aisle to repent and promise never to forget what he has done! Let’s hold it over his head for the rest of his life! Let’s tell him he can’t be used again. Let’s tell him it’s over for him. Let’s belittle him. Let’s degrade him. Let’s let him know he will never be used again.

Wait a minute! If we can recycle paper, aluminum cans, feed sacks, fruit jars, pickle jars, bacon grease, old tires, inner tubes, bread wrappers, old tires, old washers, old horseshoes, old wagon wheels, old garment remnants and old cars then that church member can be recycled too. Let’s use him again!

I see a ghetto bound teenager. He rides a bus to church. He lives in ungodly situations. He commits all kinds of sin such as dope, liquor, sex, and gang related sins. Hey, let’s ban him. Let’s don’t speak to him. We’re too good for him you know!

The greatest unused source of power in our churches are people who have fallen who have made mistakes who want to come back and be used of God again! However, fundamentalist Pharisees stomp them, talk down to them, and refuse to give them a chance to serve God.

I contend that a never dying soul of a human being and the life of someone made in the image of God is more salvageable than an old horseshoe is, or seed sacks are, or pickle jars are, or bacon grease is, or old tires are, or inner tubes are, or broken skates are, or old shoes are, or old washers are, or old car body parts are, and old garment remnants are!

I see children riding our Sunday school buses each Sunday. They are little snotty nose brats, messing up our buildings, plugging the toilets, stealing purses, and ruining the services. To what purpose is this waste? None at all some think!

That is what the average local church in America is saying. Those 400,000 churches in America who meet with their high church worship services with a big steeple and few people.

Those who meet with their elite, middle class, and upper class people gathered to what they call a worship service will answer to God Almighty for these little ghetto bound children. Someone needs to salvage them for Jesus Christ. To what purpose is this waste? The truth is all of us are rejects, reclaimed for God’s glory, and recycled for God’s glory.

I see a college student who has caused himself to be expelled. Let us by all means not take him back someday. Let us not give them a second or third chance. Let’s kick them out to never return again. Let the professors at the college refuse to speak to them. Let’s talk bad about them. Let’s put them on a black list.

Some of the finest Christians I know wasted the first part of their life. Some one says he did a terrible thing he kissed a girl! Wait a minute he could have kissed a boy! Then you would have really had troubles.

We will expel a student for doing wrong and violating the rules in a heartbeat, but we should work hard to reclaim them with a heart that beats!

Some of the greatest Christians I know were rejects that were recycled and are being used of God! You may think you have wasted your life, ruined your life, and you may have scarred your past but praise God you still have a future.

Our God uses rejects! I see a multiple murderer. I see him trust Christ. I see him recycled. I see him become the greatest Christian who has ever lived besides Jesus himself. I see the Apostle Paul. I see that ex-murderer recycled taking the Gospel to the Western world. I see him writing most of the New Testament. I see that recycled murderer still being used of God. To what purpose is this waste?

Neither God nor I care who you are! A bus rider from the Ghettos, a rescue mission man who stumbled into the mission, a deaf man who cannot hear, someone trapped by addiction, or a blind man who cannot see. God can use you and God can recycle you!

I see a man who took his own hands and killed another man. I see him recycled. I see him leading the Israelites out of Egypt. I see the great Moses a recycled murderer. Yes, I penned it correctly a murderer!

The truth is some would not sit beside Moses at church. If the Apostle Paul were scheduled to preach in your church some of you would walk out.

I see Moses leading the Israelites across the Red Sea. I see him getting manna from Heaven, the tablets of stone the Ten Commandments, water from the rock of Horeb, and leading those Jews to the door of the Promised Land. Who is this Moses? He is a recycled murderer!

I see a thief. I see a dying thief. I see a man who died and never went to church, never tithed, never helped anyone, never feed the hungry, never clothed the naked, never taught a Sunday school class, and who never ran a Sunday school bus route but when he died he went to Heaven a recycled man! To what purpose is this waste?

Do you know what this recycled saved thief did? He showed the whole world how to be saved from going to Hell, that church membership does not redeem a soul, that baptism does not redeem a soul, that joining a church does not redeem a soul, taking communion does not redeem a soul, and good works do not redeem a soul from going to Hell.

Jesus said to this thief, “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise”. That dying thief was recycled and has been used to preach the Gospel to the whole world for these 2,000 years.

I see a fallen king. You probably would not want anything to do with him. If David had sat next to you in church you would have gotten up and changed pews. I see a king and not only was he a fallen king but he was a king who committed murder.

God recycled that fallen king and caused him to write the majority of the Psalms in the Scriptures. The greatest Psalms he ever penned were after he was recycled.

Praise God if we can take old papers, garment remnants, old car parts, old cans, old pop cans, feed sacks, bacon grease, tires, inner tubes, bread wrappers, ties, broken skates, old wagon wheels, old washers, and old horseshoes then God can take living souls and use them again and recycle them.

Dear Lord, take up the tangled strains that we have wrought in vain
That by thy skill of thy dear hands some beauty may remain

I see a woman five times married living with a man that was not her husband. I see her trust Christ at Sychar’s well. I see her recycled and saying come see a man that told me all things that I ever did. She brought hundreds to Christ!

I see Rahab the harlot living on the wall of the city of Jericho as merchandisers came through she sold herself to them. I see Rahab the harlot come to Christ. I see Rahab the harlot transformed. I see God recycle her so much that he placed her name in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews as a great pattern of faith.

There is purpose to the waste!