Garbage City

Would I give up all my personal dreams to obey God’s dream?

Does my answer to that depend on what God’s dream is for my life?

. . . what if God’s dream was for me to share Him in Garbage City?

Photograph of a street in Moquattam Village, Egypt. Moquattam Village is also called Garbage City. Photograph used by permission from Ayoung Shin.

I can look at this photograph and brush it off as God would never tell me to go here . . . but what if He did?  What if He told me to live the rest of my life in Garbage City?

Garbage City?  GARBAGE CITY???  HOW COULD THIS BE GOD’S DREAM?  GOD ISN’T REALLY SERIOUS IS HE?  GOD COULDN’T ASK ME TO LIVE THERE, COULD HE?  I MEAN, HE KNOWS HOW I FEEL ABOUT GARBAGE.  HE KNOWS HOW SICK I WOULD GET.  GOD WOULDN’T ASK THAT OF ME, HE’D NEVER ASK THAT OF ME . . WOULD HE?

But God did ask.  God asked Father Samaan.

Photograph of Shubra, Cairo, where Father Samaan lived. Photograph used by permission from Andrew A. Shenouda.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  But Father Samaan lived in a normal city.  God would surely call somebody from Garbage City to witness in Garbage City, right?  Isn’t there a donation box where I can put my nice, sanitary money for Garbage City and then forget I ever saw the photograph?

The journey to Garbage City started when Father Samaan witnessed to man who collected his garbage in Shubra, Cairo.  That man received Jesus Christ.

What a victory: an event that broke class rank, broke socioeconomic rank, and broke the conventional witnessing “comfort zone boundaries”.  What a celebration to tell the church.  Surely after this, Father Samaan’s witnessing work was done, and he could retire into recollections of all the people he had led to Christ, right?  Right?

But when we follow after God, He doesn’t congratulate us for our steps in obedience nearly so much as He urges us on to bigger and faster steps.

Father Samaan had already been faithful to God in Shubra, Cairo.  Why couldn’t he just keep up his faithfulness there?  Already he had witnessed to those around him.  Already he had shared the good news about Jesus.  Already he did more than most people who call themselves Christians will do in their lifetime.  Wasn’t the scale already tipped in his favor?  Hadn’t he already done enough good works?

But Father Samaan’s life in Christ hadn’t started by good works, and it wasn’t going to be finished by good works.  Father Samaan had been saved by grace, and there was nothing he needed to add to the scale at all.  He’d already been forgiven of everything.  He’d already been promised a life in Heaven.  So why, why, why go to Garbage City?

Because Father Samaan hadn’t forgotten that his Salvation had chosen to be born into a trashed world . . . so He could carry every last speck of garbage away from us, to bury forever in His own grave.

So Father Shamaan went.

Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20, WEB)

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Photograph of Garbage City (Moquattam) by Ayoung Shin from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Trash_on_a_Street_in_Moqattam_Village.jpg, accessed November 27, 2011

Photograph of Shubra, Cairo by Andrew A. Shenouda, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/2007828/

Photographs are under Creative Commons License.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

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Published in: on November 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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