The Scented Trash Bag

Here’s a little secret – I enjoy shopping, even if it’s for essentials required for home. I’m usually the ‘chosen one’ from my family that end up going to the supermarket with my mom’s list of groceries and what-nots every month. One of the items that makes it to the list every second month is that black 20 something microns black pastic that we all know as the trash bag. So, in one of my recent shopping trips to the supermarket, I happened to chance upon what was a first for me: packets of Scented Trash Bags! Curiosity killed a cat sometime back, but it made me actually touch those packets with my nose. The packet was not lying. It did have a fragrance! So much so, that I had second thoughts of buying that over a much cheaper option that was already in my trolley. On my drive back home, as strange as it may sound, that scented bag got me thinking.

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What was the point of a scented trash bag? Yes, it gave out a beautiful fragrance that would give any air-freshener brand a run for its money. But what happens after someone starts putting trash in there? It probably may continue emanating that good smell for a bit more, till the stink of the garbage starts overpowering it! And if there were leftover food that formed a part of the garbage, then sooner rather than later, the fragrance would cease to exist. Some important lessons came running to mind from this little product.

A Scent that fades: Think about this for a moment, how often do we end up going for or after folks based on what they show on the outside: “Hey, this man is a powerful speaker!”; “Wow, this girl sings so well!”; “He is a wonderful musician!” – just to give you a few examples. Nothing wrong with that! But how often do we seek what truly forms that man or woman? We start following the fragrances that would soon be history. The fragrance did not just naturally form in that plastic bag. It was because someone somewhere had made a perfume from a flower, and polished/sprayed it over the bag. The maker is the source of the fragrance. Therein lies the problem in following the gifts or the person with the gifts than following The Giver of the gifts. Those gifts or the person displaying the gifts will fade away. We’d be left at that part of the road where U-turn is the only option!

From Scent to Stink: If the man or woman who was gifted starts beginning to throw into his/her heart garbages from the world, then it won’t be long before he or she falls from grace! The fragrance begins to disintegrate, and the stink starts taking control. And because we followed the person displaying the gift, we either end up radiating that stink ourselves or just plain being orphaned! Discern the scented garbage bag, before it’s too late.

Eventual Destination- Garbage Dump: I’ve reiterated a point in many sermons – it’s not how well we began, but how and where we finished that counts. No matter how beautiful the fragrance may seem, the final destination of a trash bag is the garbage truck to be eventually burnt in the garbage dump! Running after the gifts without giving any glory to the Giver- God Himself, is for me, idol-worship. That’s garbage! The final destination of all gifts/gift-users sans Jesus is the garbage dump, no matter how sweet smelling those were!

We all ought to realize, it is not about the gifts or the one using the gifts, but about the Giver. For, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father.”  James 1:17 [ESV].

If you’re somebody who gives more importance to your gift than the Giver, regardless of whether there’s garbage inside of you, then you’re nothing but a trash bag. If you’re somebody who follows a mentor/leader/spiritual father merely for the gifts they possess, then you’re following a trash bag!

Not many years ago, my life was much like that scented trash bag. For many on the outside, I was giving out sweet fragrances that were pleasing to the senses. I was up front in leading worship. I was a little youth leader in my own right dishing out not-so-bad sermons once in a while. But only God and I knew what was on my inside. It was filled with garbage. In simple terms, sins of the world! Garbage that was soon going to show its true colour and send out its stinking smell! But for God’s intervention, I’d have been in a garbade dump today! More on my story probably some years later when I will pen my autobiography!

As to which of the bags did I choose – the stinginess in me woke up. I chose the cheaper and the non-scented option.


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