May I Take Up Your Trash?

This month I’m pleased to share this blog space with my friend and teammate, Genta Hayes. Genta is a native of Kansas City, Missouri and a Dallas Theological Seminary student. She is a daughter, sister, God-mother, follower of Christ and lover of People. Genta’s passion is to shepherd the hearts of women so they may know and be fully known by Jesus Christ.

During a recent training event, I sat with fellow leaders chatting over lunch. Our meal filled us with necessary sustenance, but what now remained on our plates was unconsumable, gross substance. As lunch came to an end, Douglass, one of the leaders, stood up, glanced around the table, extended his hand, and asked, “may I take up your trash?”

This simple question birthed out of a kind gesture permeated my heart with conviction. Those of us sitting around the table replied, “yes, you may,” and handed over our less than desirable plates. 

This simple and willing act of service reminded me of Jesus Christ, the ultimate servant and greatest Trashman known to humankind. Romans 5:8 teaches that “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

That gesture of Love is as relevant today as it was more than 2,000 years ago. My friend’s question, “may I take up your trash?”, emulates the invitation to receive Christ as our Savior. When the unbeliever says “yes,” she receives the Holy Spirit as God’s seal of promise to one day bask in the presence of our Lord and Savior for eternity. 

Then while on earth, the believer is invited daily to hand over her trash to Christ. Hebrews 12:1 states: “let us lay aside every weight [Trash] and the sin [Trash] which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  Our trash includes shame, guilt, sinful habits, addiction, disappointment, bitterness, unforgiveness, weariness, resentment, doubt, fear, sickness, pride, slander, loneliness, exhaustion, performance, and the like. 

As children of God, handing over our trash requires close proximity with Him and vulnerability with others, spending time in His word and in prayer, confessing our sins [trash] to him and others, and allowing others to speak into our lives, pray with and help us. This laying aside creates room for us to grow in intimacy with Him and live authentically with others. 

As followers of Christ we can all become a Douglass by seizing the opportunity right where God has placed us: work, school, home, the grocery store, a plane ride, the unemployment line, or the gym, and ask, “may I take up your trash?” Such gestures permit the Holy Spirit to move freely in our lives- guiding us to  make time in our packed schedules to be present for others, to share in the burdens of others, and to love others as God designed, rather than as we see fit. 

The challenge..

  1. What is the trash in your life that Christ is asking to take up?
  2. Whose trash is He asking you take up so that they don’t have to bear the load alone?

Dr. Michelle Pokorny serves as an Adjunct Professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, teaching D.Min classes on Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Disciplines, and Soul Care. Michelle developed a passion for women’s ministry during her college years while serving as a counselor at Pine Cove Christian Camps. Her desire to see women thrive in their gifting led her to DTS to gain a solid biblical and theological foundation. After receiving her MACE in Women’s Ministry, Dr. Pokorny began working with East-West Ministries, International, where she served in Human Resources and on the International Women’s Ministries Training Team. Michelle's doctoral work focused on burnout and soul-care among Christian leaders. Michelle is married to Mark and their favorite hobbies include traveling, exercising, and enjoying food and laughter with friends and family. They have one active toddler, Alexander.

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