An Inspirational Story: The Litterbugs Trio

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

In a serene corner of suburbia, three teenage pals – Jake, Ethan, and Alex – bore the somewhat ironic title of the “Litterbugs Trio.” Their heedless discarding of wrappers and bottles had painted them as the chief culprits behind a litter-laden landscape.

On a sun-soaked Sunday, they sat in church, their minds drifting, until the Pastor’s words pierced their thoughts. “Listen to these words!” the pastor said, Genesis 1:31 – “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”   “There’s a lot of talk about the environment and climate change,” Pastor said, his voice both gentle and resolute. “But let’s not miss the forest for the trees. It’s about the beauty of God’s creation and the joy and peace it can bring to each of our lives. Climate Change must begin with the fundamental change of keeping our neighborhoods free from litter. It all begins there. Why do I say that? Because it creates dramatic impact in three ways! First, it helps the eyes of your heart become open to the majesty of God and all His creation. You fall in love with Him and all He has created when you work to protect its beauty. Secondly, cleaning up litter reminds you of your contributions to hurting not helping this beauty that God has created for our enjoyment. And thirdly, it will initiate a transformation in you that will turn you inside out, changing your perspectives and behaviors in wonderful ways that you could have never imagined.”  “Now, starting this coming Saturday, we are going to have our first outreach in picking up litter in our neighborhoods. We will do this once a month for two hours and I hope you will make this a family event with your children. That is where this has to begin!” 

The message pricked Jake’s heart. As Jake looked over at his friends, if his eyes could speak, they would have said, “We’re guilty and we are doing this!” The realization that their small actions held the potential for a larger impact took root within their hearts.

After the service, Mr. Anderson, Jake’s dad approached Jake and said, “What do you think Jake?” Are we in?” Jake nodded, his voice firm with newfound conviction. “Yeah, Dad. I used to think it was funny that we were called “The Litterbug Trio” but now I feel ashamed.” It’s time to change that!”

The subsequent weekend, fueled by a mix of determination and a tinge of trepidation, the trio found themselves in the midst of a community clean-up. Gloved hands and trash bags in tow, they combed through the litter-strewn streets under Mr. Anderson’s watchful eye. Each piece of trash they picked up felt like a small redemption, a gesture that said, “I heard you, God.”

As the last bag was tied, a sense of accomplishment swept over them. The streets that had once borne their mark of carelessness now had cleanliness and an enhanced beauty that amazed each of them.  One of those in their group walked up to them and said, “Well, I guess we’ll have to stop calling you “The Litterbugs.” Maybe we can rename you “The De-litterbugs,” which made all three boys chuckle and smile big!

As the pastor had promised, something happened in their heart and the journey did not end with the clean-up. A spark had been ignited and the trio turned their focus toward their school. After talking with their Teacher and Principle, they launched an outreach program, tirelessly educating their peers about the importance of respecting the environment and keeping their surroundings clean.

The De-litterbugs’ influence grew, drawing more and more students into their fold. Their efforts snowballed into an award-winning program, touching lives and neighborhoods far beyond their school’s boundaries. They collaborated with local businesses to finance the clean-up supplies needed for their outreaches, who gladly contributed to their cause.

Their program, once a small endeavor, flourished into a movement. Their collective commitment not only brought tangible change but also stirred emotions. People began to see their community with fresh eyes, embracing the beauty and tranquility of nature that had long been overlooked.

Their dedication did not go unnoticed. The city bestowed upon them a new award– the “Excellence of Environment Award.” The Mayor, in a heartfelt ceremony, commended their efforts in bringing awareness to the fact that climate change begins with the simple act of caring for our daily environment. The boys insisted that their Pastor be included in this award since it was he who sparked all this through his sermon. In their minds, the award really belonged to him.

Jake, Ethan, Alex, and their Pastor stood before the crowd, their hearts swelling with thanksgiving for what God had done. The journey that began with a word about the beauty of God’s creation, and a simple clean-up day had transformed them into champions of change. Their actions proved that even the smallest acts of respect and care could blossom into something extraordinary, forever altering the landscape of their lives and their community.

Revelation 4:11 (NIV) “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

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In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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