This morning Alaine and I walked around Phalen Lake. The weather was almost perfect. And the lake was full to overflowing after all the rain we've had lately.
I like to walk on week days, early in the mornings. The path isn't as crowded then.
For the most part our walk was uneventful. We didn't talk a lot. We just enjoyed the scenery and the fresh air. As we walked, we exchanged hellos with a few other hikers.
We crossed paths with an unusual man.
He appeared to be in his seventies. Nothing unusual about that. What was unusual was what this man was doing as he walked. He carried a blue, see-through plastic bag with him and was constantly scanning the ground.
The man was picking up cigarette butts that littered the trail.
I have seen this man before doing exactly the same thing.
I didn't say hello to him; instead I simply said thank you.
He responded with a simple: You're welcome.
I've been thinking about this man all day.
Why does he do what he does?
Maybe sometime I'll ask him.
What difference does it make? There will certainly be more cigarette butts to pick up tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.
Doesn't it get discouraging to go to the lake and have to pick up other people's trash? Why has this man taken upon himself the responsibility to do this?
Believe it or not, the 'butt' man reminds me of God.
Let me explain.
Yesterday, during worship, I left my garbage at the foot of the cross. I did this the week before, and the week before that. I will do so again this coming Sunday, and the Sunday after that.
God does not get tired of taking my garbage from me.
All I can say is "Thank You".
And He replies, "You're welcome."