Tag Archives: human value

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure

Found in the winter edition of Biblical Archaeology Review: “Garbage is among humanity’s prodigious physical legacies to those who are not yet born.”

Profound, huh? This quote was placed at the beginning of an article entitled, “Jerusalem and the Holy Land (fill).” 5000 years of trash have accumulated in and around the holy city. Mostly found on the slopes of the Kidron valley, the garbage is now being excavated to discover how people lived by studying their refuse.

I wonder what our descendants would learn about us from sifting through our garbage. One thing is for certain – they would find plenty of Styrofoam.

We live in a throw-away society. In spite of our larger closets, storage units, and second-hand (or my favorite, ‘gently used’) stores, we still have plenty to cast off. Dumpsters behind restaurants and grocery stores are filled daily with uneaten food. Clothes are discarded when they no longer fit or in style. Technology quickly goes out of date. Cars, appliances, furniture … the list goes on. We could clothe, feed, and house a lot of people with the stuff we throw away.

Speaking of that, the worst tragedies involve throw-away people. We don’t like to be reminded of our cast-offs. Like car junkyards, we like to hide them, abandon them, ignore them, or forget them.

As people of faith, we believe that every person is made in the image of God. We will never meet a person that God doesn’t love. I heard a phrase this past week I haven’t heard in years: “God don’t make no junk.” Do we?

Perhaps history won’t judge us so much by what we throw away as who we throw away. Oh, God, may we treat others as we wish to be treated!