Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Why Round Trashcans Are Better

We get upset about some of the dumbest things. I was once told about a man who worked in an area where the janitors didn’t go in to collect the trash, so the people in that area would have to carry their trashcans out and set them outside the door for the janitor to dumb. This man, apparently newly hired to work in the area, came into work one morning and saw all of the trashcans sitting outside the door. Trying to be nice, he collected them all and put them back beside the desks. When his coworkers came in, some were furious. It so happens that in that area there were round trashcans and square trashcans. Only the higher salary grade people were supposed to have the square trashcans and the lower salary grade people were to have the round trashcans. I’m sure the lower salary grade people didn’t mind getting the square trashcans, but the higher salary grade people who ended up with the round trashcans were very upset. As silly as that sounds, it was told as a true story.

The work environment highlights the problem because something as small as the shape of the trashcan or the type of chair a person can have has significant meaning. It isn’t the actual value of these things that’s important, but it has more to do with one’s self-worth. People get concerned about the perks of a position, even if the only perk is the shape of the trashcan because these perks make them feel like they are more important than someone else. In a work environment, that actually makes the other people feel inferior and that’s not good, but what can you do?

If we were to look closely, we would find that salary grade in and of itself isn’t an indicator of how well a person is doing. Some people with higher salaries are so deep in debt that people below them who manage their money well are better off. A large part of that has to do with the blessings of God. When God is in the equation, we may be passed over for promotion many times and still be as well off as if we’d gotten the promotion. But our tendency is to compare ourselves to others.

Naturally, we look at the things others have and question why they receive these things when we have put in just as much or more effort than they have, but we haven’t received them. We could blame our bosses—they’re easy targets—but ultimately, it is God who decides who is promoted and who is not. It is God who decides what blessings each of us receive. We begin to complain and ask, “why not me?”

What we need to realize is that when we do that, we are taking the attitude that we are more deserving of God’s blessings than the other person. We should be rejoicing with the other person and perhaps we try, but all the while we’re thinking “They’re young than me and they have less experience. It isn’t fair.” But have you considered that God wants to bless that person? We want to feel extra special. We want to think that God will treat us differently than he does the people around us. When God gives someone else a blessing we were hoping to receive, even if it is a square trashcan, we question why God is ignoring us. We’re hurt because he gave them something, but not us. That’s not the way it should be. The Bible tells us to esteem others better than ourselves. It also tells us that God knows and wants what is best for us. As hard as it may be for us to believe, maybe having a round trashcan will cause us to live our lives better than we would if had a square one. After all, who really wants the stress that comes when someone takes away the trashcan we’ve worked so hard to get?