Life's Homer Bucket
by Pastor Mike Pratt | February 19, 2016Have you ever seen a Home Depot "Homer" bucket? You know, it's that orange five-gallon bucket you see along the highway sometimes because it flew out of the bed of someone's pickup truck as they sped along.
Well, imagine a Homer bucket sitting on the ground next to a swamp. What if I pick up that bucket and drag it through the water and fill it to the brim with swamp water? The water looks like strong tea. It's dark yellow and there are bits of decomposing leaves, seeds, frogs, twigs and other assorted stuff that I can't really identify. And there's a distinct smell coming from the water that makes my nostrils want to close. YUCK!
Now, I decide to clean the bucket out but instead of just dumping it out and rinsing it with fresh water from the hose, I leave it brimming with stinky, cloudy, gross swamp water. Then I take the hose that's connected to the faucet on the side of the house and I turn the water on so there's just a little dribble of water coming out and I hold the end of the hose over the full bucket.
I'm very pleased with myself as the fresh water starts running ever so slowly into the rank, gross, smelly swamp water. But, as I hold that hose there I start to think to myself, "Self! What are you doing?!?! This is going to take all day!"
So as to speed this process up a little bit I turn the faucet on full blast. The nice fresh cold water starts to GUSH out of the hose and I stick the end of the hose down into the bucket. Well, that did the trick! Gunk and yellow smelly water and lots of yucky stuff starts to overflow and run out of the bucket and pretty soon, the bucket is full of fresh, clean, cold and sparkling water.
“OK,” you ask, “what does this have to do with anything?” Well, here’s the correlation to our lives. The swamp and swamp water in this illustration is the world or the culture that surrounds us every day. It is rank, gross, full of dead and rotting stuff, and frankly, it’s really bad for us. The Homer bucket is you and me.
When we immerse ourselves in the world and culture on a daily basis, we tend to get filled up with that stinky, cloudy, gross swamp water. If you look around you, you can recognize the gross swamp water of today’s culture; sex, porn, materialism, pride, foul language. Galatians 5:19-21 lists some of the junk this world pollutes us with: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. When we get close to and stay close to the world and its wretched culture we get filled up with swamp water or things like I just listed.
Well, what’s the solution then?
Remember the hose with clear, clean water coming out? That’s the solution. That clear, clean water represents God, His word, the Holy Spirit, whatever you want to call the things of God.
When we read a devotional and one scripture once each week (maybe) then it’s like we’ve got the hose of God’s presence turned on so there’s just a dribble affecting our life. With so little of God and so much of the world that we’re immersed in it’s pretty tough for our life to get cleaned out, huh?
Well, when we immerse ourselves in God, (going to a Bible study each week, reading God’s word every day, praying to God regularly, meditating on and memorizing God’s word, letting Jesus live his life through us, etc.) then it’s like we turned on the clear, fresh water full blast and it starts offsetting the gunky gross world’s culture that has had such a hold on us.
When we do this, we start to think with the mind of Christ and we begin allowing Jesus to live his life through us. We start to submit to the Holy Spirit in both decision making and behavior. We start to have hearts that are sensitive to sin and wounded every time they do something that offends God. We start to become people who live differently from the norm because of our faith, leading lives that conform to the dictates of Scripture without cutting corners or trying to interpret biblical passages for personal comfort or advantage. We become the church body that protects and lives up to an image of being loving, caring, focused, and clear minded in its pursuit of the ways of God.
When we submit ourselves completely to the will of God we become individuals who are continually linked to God through prayer and meditation, as if we were "online" 24 hours a day with the ultimate spiritual power.
You might be sitting there thinking, “I can’t possible do this!” Well, you’re right. You can’t possibly do this without God’s help. Only, we must fully commit ourselves to God and stop living our lives with one foot in the world and one foot in God’s world.
What I’m talking about is a major commitment but then that’s what Jesus calls for when he says “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
What Jesus is saying there is that we must be careful that we love Jesus above all other people and things in our life, that we lay aside our life and we allow Jesus to live his life through us. We must be completely committed to him and submit to him completely. You may bristle at the word “submit” but it’s actually a beautiful word when it isn’t warped and messed with by the world. Submission is wonderful when there is a loving God to whom you are submitting. When you submit to a God who loves you so much that he gave his only son to die in your place and everything that happens to you happens so that you can be made more life Jesus, it’s easy to submit to him.
Remember this, “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” Being an enemy of God is not a place we want to be. We become God’s friend, child, and servant when we immerse ourselves in Him. This is what we’re called to do.