I’ve got to get a job there.

Got to.  The pay is pretty good I hear, but the catch is, I’d have to move to Dayton, Tennessee.  The Lazy-Boy Company has a plant there that employs a few thousand people and they make recliners.  At any given time twenty five of those employees have the enviable job of being recliner testers.  Talking about sitting down on the job!  They get paid to sit.

All day long they sit and pull the recliner lever and check out the equipment. Well, that is not all they do.  To hear these well-paid employees talk, it is hard work.  It’s not a job for a couch potato.  They have to check up to 130 pieces a day.  That is a lot of getting up and down.  I say if they are really going to check out a Lazy-Boy recliner, it must be done while wearing a T shirt.  The guys must have a remote in one hand and a cold drink in the other, and they must be allowed to call for colleagues to bring them the newspaper.

These Lazy-Boy testers report, by the way, about a 10% rate of recliners that don’t pass the inspection.  You see, it is their job to find fault.  They get paid to make note of failures.  They actually keep a record of wrongs.

When our son, Tyler, played baseball as a kid, one of the parents kept the books.  He recorded in a book every hit, sacrifice, force play, out, and error.  If you wanted to know if you made an error, check the book.  It’s right there.

God keeps no such book on those who have sought his forgiveness.  Paul says it in 1 Cor. 13:  “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”

God could keep a list of our wrongs, and it would be a long one.  The book would be a thick one on all of us, including yours truly.

Did you know that Americans collectively throw out 160 million tons of garbage a year?  What to do with all that garbage has become a big, stinky problem.  The problem is typified by the anagram NIMBY:  “Not in My Backyard.”

The classic example of this was the ship Pelicano.  It was the world’s most unwanted ship.  From 1986 until 1988 she was the hobo of the high seas.  Nobody wanted that ship.  Sri Lanka? No thanks. Bermuda? No thanks.  Honduras?  Nope.  The problem was not with the ship.  She was seaworthy.  The problem was not the owner.  The problem was not the crew.

The problem?  She was full of trash.  Fifteen thousand tons of trash–orange peels, beer bottles, newspapers.  Trash.   It was Philadelphia’s trash after the city’s workers went on strike.  The owners of the Pelicano thought they would turn a quick profit by burning the trash, putting it in the belly of the ship, and transporting it somewhere.   Anywhere.  Georgia said no thanks.  So did New Jersey.  The countries around the world said “no way.”  I mean, who wants a ship load of potentially hazardous waste?

Word has it that two years later 4,000 pounds of it was dumped off the coast of Haiti, and when the ship docked in Singapore one month later it was all gone.

Perhaps the Pelicano is an appropriate symbol for our lives.  Everybody has some trash.  Boat load?  Maybe. Perhaps we too are unwanted.  We drift further away from our family and friends.  They keep score.  They keep the books.  And it all piles up.
Some of it is your own doing.  Some of it is just piled on.  Bitterness.  Guilt.  Anxiety.  Remember the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8)?  Trash.  Judgmental fingers pointed in her direction.  Sinner. But Jesus didn’t have a book.  He kept no record of wrongs.  God doesn’t and neither should you.

~Pastor Steve

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