Stephanie Rische

Stubbing My Toe on Grace

Dumpster Diving November 5, 2012

Filed under: Luke — Stephanie Rische @ 1:07 pm
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Six months after we got married, Daniel discovered, to his great dismay, that his wedding ring had accidentally been thrown in the trash.


He was just wrapping up after a long day at his full-time position and then a stint at his part-time job when he looked down at his finger and realized it was bare. He mentally retraced the events of the day, when all at once it dawned on him: the gloves.


In his job working with special needs students, Daniel often has occasion to wear disposable gloves, and somewhere around midday he remembered turning the gloves inside out and tossing them in the trash. Had he seen the ring since? He frantically made some phone calls, hoping to stop the trash before it was taken to the dumpster.


No such luck. The next morning he arrived at work before the sun came up, bedecked in his grubbiest clothes and his most determined expression.


The ring was important to Daniel—not just because of its objective value, but also because it represented the commitment he’d made. The ring was a tangible symbol of our wedding day: “With this ring, I thee wed” and all. He was willing to go to great lengths to scavenge for it, despite the obstacles and grime he’d have to wade through in the process.



As I read Luke 15, I’m struck by God’s willingness to roll up his sleeves and dive into our grimy world to bring us back to him.


Jesus tells three parables in this chapter—one about a shepherd who leaves his whole flock to chase down a runaway lamb, one about a woman who loses a coin and turns her entire house upside down to find it, and one about a father who runs to greet his beloved son who once was lost but now is found.


God is willing to dive into the dumpster on our behalf because he sees value in us, even when we’re covered in muck. And besides, he has made a commitment to us. No amount of garbage will hold him back.


An interesting side note about each of Jesus’ parables is that once each item has been found, a party ensues. There is much rejoicing—over the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son.


I got a phone call from Daniel later that morning, and sure enough, he’d found the ring! And yes, there was much rejoicing (after a bit of scrubbing and Clorox). The lost had been found.


Thank you, God, for going to great lengths to bring us back to you. Thank you for keeping your commitment to us. And thank you for diving into the dumpster on our behalf.


Question: Have you ever lost something and gone to great lengths to find it again?


I’ve taken the challenge of reading the Bible chronologically this year and tracing the thread of grace through it. These musings are prompted by my reading. I’d love to have you join me: One Year Bible reading plan.


8 Responses to “Dumpster Diving”

  1. alice Teisan Says:

    Thanks for telling us the ending of the ring story. How about those of us who go to the dumpster in hopes of what we’ll find also?

  2. maggierowe Says:

    Stephanie, I don’t think I knew this story. How amazing that he got the ring back – how good God is!

  3. Nancy Rische Says:

    How great to know a God that was (is) willing to go great lengths to love us. Great story.

  4. […] For more thoughts on this parable, take a look at my musings on dumpster diving. […]

  5. […] image of a father running to a prodigal would be stunning enough on its own (see more in this post). But given the cultural context Jesus was speaking into, it’s even more breathtaking. As one […]

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