What I Learned at the Recycling Center

by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)

Recycling centers have always been something that fascinated me. Usually these companies are in buildings that were themselves built for another purpose, but were, well, “recycled” as places where we can take aluminum cans, newspapers, and so forth. Besides, we managed to save enough aluminum cans to just about pay for the trip and have a hamburger afterwards!


But there was one trip to a certain recycling center that I’ll never forget. I had brought a load of soda cans (or, pop cans depending on where you live) and was finishing up the paperwork when I saw a large cardboard box about maybe 50 feet away. The box was close enough that I could see some kind of literature or paper products, but I couldn’t make out just what exactly was in the box.

I was scared because some of the covers had a large letter “H” visible clearly, and part of another capital letter below it. That had me nervous, because the letter looked like a “B” but the lower part of the B wasn’t clearly visible.

What kind of book has a capital H and a capital B on the front cover?

Remember, this was in the early 2000’s and there were any number of promotional “covers” for the Bible. That’s right, I thought there were copies of the Holy Bible being recycled, with the covers “cut”—the center manager’s term—and the pages set aside for reuse and recycling, As a believer in Jesus, the thought of God’s Word being destroyed, in America, was almost more than I could take.

Somehow I managed to ask the manager what was in the boxes. He gave me a puzzled look and asked why was I so concerned about what others had brought in—the tone was “it’s none of your business, really, with what I do here”. Then I explained that I saw the H and B and asked, “Those aren’t Bibles, are they? I mean, I saw that big letter H . . .”

He laughed and said, “No, that’s leftover Harry Potter stuff that didn’t sell. I cut the covers off and then keep the thin paper for another section, No, I won’t cut a Bible—I wouldn’t dare do such a thing!”

Relief must have come quickly to my face, and I know it did to my heart. Knowing that there was at least one other person who respected God’s Word was truly refreshing to me. Contrast his response with people in the Bible, like King Jehoiakim, who burned the scroll of Jeremiah’s writings (see Jeremiah 36), and efforts of people from those days to now who often try, desperately, to keep the Word of God away from God’s people.

I learned that day in the recycling center that, to repeat, there was at least one champion for the Bible. May his tribe increase and may we all read, love, and live the Word of God.

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