It’s junk. Get rid of it.

We held our annual cleanup day at the church recently. We assembled our members to spruce up our church for Easter every year. It rained that morning, so we focused on our inside projects. We were going to remove junk from our church. We hired a truck to arrive at 1 pm to haul it away. Jimmy was our decision-maker about what was junk and what wasn’t. Jimmy was a church member and a member of the trustees. He had also been the CFO of a large hospital, so he was used to making decisions.

Jimmy, Barrie (Barrie was our staff member in charge of the facilities), and I did a quick tour of our rooms. Barrie had worked hard all week labeling things like old floor heaters, faded wall art, and broken chairs. But there was one room that had become the junk room. Every group in the church just piled their stuff in there, and it had become the default place to store strollers, chairs, wooden teaching stands, and children’s storage piles.

“What do you think needs to go?” I asked Jimmy.

“All of it. It’s junk.”

I said, “But what about this teaching podium?”

“It’s junk,” he said.

“But the church has had it for 50 years.”

“Yes, but we haven’t used it in 15 years. It’s junk, Will. We’ve got so much junk everywhere we got to make some decisions.”

I said, “What about this table? I know it’s old and heavy, but I don’t know if I have permission to throw it away.”

“It’s junk, Will. Take it to the curb,” he said.

Jimmy looked at Barrie, and he looked at me. “Will, I want you to go to your office for 30 minutes and let us take care of this room, and you can have deniability on all our decisions.”

Two hours later, the junk truck company arrives and loads up a curbside full of our church’s old relics. Two old wooden teaching stands were falling apart that were once used by Sunday schools that had disbanded years ago, but I kept thinking they were so beautiful we would one day use them or another church might want them. But we have two others just like it, and so do all other churches. There were heavy wooden tables with broken legs and hula hoops.

One of the church members said, “I had no idea there was that much stuff inside our church that we don’t use.”

After the junk truck left, suddenly, we could organize our closet and fit our new tables and chairs inside neatly.

My wife is a church consultant who works with churches like ours. She said, “Jimmy, I’m going to hire you to meet with other churches and help them throw away their stuff.”

And Jimmy said, “Well, here’s how I look at it. When Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem, they didn’t haul a trailer full of their stuff. They traveled light, and they didn’t have many possessions. Christians have to let go of our possessions.”

During the season of Lent, we all need a Jimmy. We need someone to tell us what is junk. We need someone to help us let go of our possessions and our past, our destructive habits.

You watch that Netflix show, and it’s got a lot of foul language, violence, and sex, but you justify it because everyone else seems to be watching it. Let Jimmy help, “It’s junk. Take it to the curb. Get it out of your life.”

Lent is our forty-day cleanup, and it’s our chance to eliminate the junk in our lives.

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