Dump Burdens So You Can Pursue Dreams
- Charles E. Blake, Sr. Guest author
- 2001 17 Jan
"Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Several years ago the staff of our church, West Angeles Church of God in Christ, was confronted by a significant problem. We had accumulated so many documents - letters, old bills, records, memos, financial documents, forms, and almost every other kind of document - that our organization was almost paralyzed. We had run out of storage space. Desks and file cabinets were filled and overflowing. Table and cabinet tops had stacks of paper piled on top of them. So many unnecessary documents took up space that we had trouble finding the documents we really needed. This jeopardized progress and effectiveness. To deal with this situation, I announced what is now a periodic institution within our organization: Dump Day.
On Dump Day, we usually close the office to the public, put volunteers on the phone lines, request that the staff cancel all outside appointments, and we dress in old clothes and tennis shoes. We order extra trash bins, paper shredders, and large plastic bags, and we dump or throw away hundreds if not thousands of pounds of paper, empty ballpoint pens, antiquated and broken equipment, and everything else that might hinder us from reaching a higher level of effectiveness as an organization. We have found that "stuff" routinely piles up on us, but it does not routinely get dumped. Therefore, from time to time, we have to call everything else to a halt and have a Dump Day. Our motto for the day is, "When in doubt, dump it."
On a recent Dump Day, as I was stepping over a huge pile of paper I had removed from my desk, I was strongly impressed - I believe by the Lord - that Dump Days should be instituted by many organizations, groups, households, and individuals. Some folk need to have a Dump Day for their yards. Say good-bye to old cars that will never run again, old chairs that will injure you if you try to sit in them, old couches that stray dogs or cats have been sleeping on. Have a Dump Day for the yard.
Other folk need a Dump Day for the inside of their houses. In fact, let's talk about your closet. You've got stuff in there that you have not worn in 10 years. Dump it! Outfits from the '60s, thick-soled shoes, bell-bottom pants, and other stuff that belongs in a museum. Dump it! You've got stuff that you haven't been able to wedge yourself into since you were 25, and if you actually got in them, paramedics would have to come and cut you out! You've got stuff in there that, if you wore it, folk would know that you are way older than you say you are, so dump it!
What about the kitchen? If you open a box and it's moving, dump it. That flour and meal that you bought five years ago, knowing that you don't make anything from scratch, needs to go. If the top of the can is rusty and dusty, dump it. If scientists come to your refrigerator to study the growth of strange new life forms, dump it!
If there is so much junk in the house that you feel you're wading instead of walking, then you need to have a Dump Day. Old magazines, newspapers, and catalogs that you'll never read again or that you never read in the first place should be dumped!
Some old folk need to have a Dump Day because they are living in the past. Some young folk need to have a Dump Day because they are loaded down with foolish stuff. White folk, black folk, men, women, those in between, Democrats, Republicans, whatever group you may name; there is a universal need to occasionally have a Dump Day.
Now let's focus on the individual who desires to reach their God-given dreams, but they are locked into destructive patterns of thinking and behavior. As Christians, we all need to have regular Dump Days! There are plenty of things in our minds, our souls, our spirits, and our relationships that need to be dumped because they prevent us from moving closer to God and reaching for our dreams.
I'm reminded of the Asian monkey trap that is nothing more than a heavy pot with a narrow neck. A peanut is placed inside the pot to lure the monkey. The monkey's hand can reach into the pot, but when he grabs the peanut, his fist becomes too big to come back out. The pot is too big to carry away, so the monkey is stuck unless he dumps the peanut. Most monkeys are too hardheaded to let go, and they stay trapped.
Before we laugh at the stupid monkey, think of the things that trap us because we won't let go! To attain our God-given dreams, we need to let go and lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us. Why? So we can run with endurance the race that is set before us. (See Hebrews 12:1).
Someone who runs with a backpack full of rocks is at a disadvantage to a runner who has laid aside every weight. Yet we voluntarily try to run toward our dreams with a load a stuff that's holding us back and slowing us down. Dump it!
"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified" (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
There are things that we must lay aside if we are to run well in this race. The more we lay aside, the better we run. In a race, the runners wear very light clothing and shoes. They carry nothing that is not absolutely necessary. So many people go through life carrying unnecessary and incapacitating burdens.
Now be careful at this point because you'll find some things are necessary. In a relay race, the runner must run with a baton, which he passes to the next runner. If he drops it, or does not pick it up, his whole team loses. Paul ran his race loaded with the gospel of grace. It was certainly a burden at times, but he knew that reaching the lost with the Gospel was his race, so he held on to it with all his might.
"But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24).
In life's race we are sometimes inclined to hold on to what we don't need and throw away necessary things. Once when I was traveling, I changed planes in Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. As I went through the airport, I noticed that my coat pocket was filled with empty ticket folders and various documents. In the spirit of Dump Day, I stopped by a trashcan and unloaded. I was careful not to throw away my current plane ticket, but after my plane had taken off, I noticed a rather large check that had been in my pocket was gone. I realized that I had thrown it in the trash can at the airport. Fortunately, I was able to get a replacement check and stop payment on the discarded check, but I should have been more careful.
How do we know what to dump and what to keep? The Word of God tells us! Paul says in his letter to the church at Philippi: "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my LORD, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death" (Philippians 3:7-10).
We must hold on to Jesus Christ, value and cherish His righteousness which is given to us by faith, and know Him in the power of His resurrection and in the fellowship of His sufferings.
"Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21).
To run our race, to reach our dreams, we must pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). We must turn away from our former ugly ways and cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1). And we will truly unburden ourselves when we shrug off our load of sin, when we put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth (Colossians 3:8).
We have no excuse because "The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Romans 13:12-14).
We must take off the old man of sin and put on Jesus Christ.
I shouldn't have to say this, but there are Christians who are still carrying loads from their old lives before they were saved. Make no mistake, drunkenness is a sin. Alcohol and drugs are devastating our society and our world. How many of our young people have to be destroyed, how many careers have to be destroyed, how many families have to be ruined before people understand that they need to dump alcohol and drugs? Dump it!
Sexual immorality is a sin, no matter what our culture insists. That means no sex outside of marriage, period. Illegitimate children, disease, sorrow, and the judgment of God are the fruits of society's perversion of God's design for sex within marriage. We will not attain God's plan for our lives playing with sexual immorality. Dump it!
Excerpt taken from Free to Dream: Discover Your Divine Destiny. Copyright 2000 by Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. Used by permission of Albury Publishing, Tulsa, Okla., www.alburypublishing.com, 1-800-811-3921. All rights reserved.
Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. is the pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ, the largest African-American church in the western United States, with a membership of more than 18,000. He and his co-chairmen, Magic Johnson and Denzel Washington, are overseeing the construction of West Angeles Cathedral. The church includes more than 80 specialized ministries.
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