All The Dirt That Got Left Out


To begin with, this Devo's origins are all due to bad plumbing and a massive hole outside my office door that had to be dug to repair it. 

A couple of months ago, the toilet in our church office ceased to work. Upon inspection, the plumber we called to investigate began pulling up tree roots as he sought to unclog everything. 

Apparently, the sub-par pipe situation below ground had finally given way, and things broke apart, so a re-route was needed, which included a ton of digging and the destruction of part of the sidewalk.  

Several weeks and a few bids later, we hired a plumbing specialist to rectify the situation, and they got to work by first jackhammering the sidewalk and breaking apart a ton of rock below the ground. 

All of this occurred outside my office door, which made for some unpleasant and teeth-jarring experiences as I tried in vain to work while it was happening. 

But after all was said and done, the repairs were made, new cement was applied to the sidewalk, and dirt was put back into the hole dug to complete the work. 

Which brings me to the point of this story. 

A massive pile of dirt got left out, along with a bunch of rocks.  And when I say "massive pile," I'm not exaggerating.  It was substantial enough that I was taken aback at first.  

This left me wondering: "If they got all that dirt out of the hole as they dug it, why didn't it all fit back in?"

There is a reasonable explanation for this, which many of my engineering friends would be happy to relate.  And this is not my first time seeing something like this happen.   

The bottom line is that there was no room in the hole for some of the dirt unearthed.  Things changed after they dug down, and only some things needed to be put back in.  

As I stood there looking at the pile of dirt outside of my office door, I realized there was a spiritual lesson in all of it.  

So many people refuse to dig deep into the depths of their faith and beliefs because a part of them knows things will be different after they do it. 

When we dig deep into our faith and unearth the problems with what we say we believe or the issues that affect our faith, some things won't fit back in the hole we dug. 

This is right and good.  Because if we don't do the hard work of digging deep, the problems and issues with our faith and beliefs can cause much damage.  But the likelihood is high that there are things we won't put back. 

This can be frightening for some of us.  Maybe we even deluded ourselves into thinking there weren't any problems beneath the surface from the outset.  Or we can't imagine how things would be with so much left out of the hole. 

We all need to hear this: 

Digging deep into our faith and beliefs is an act of faithful discipleship.  It's not an exercise in doubt, quite the contrary.  It's the very thing that must be done for us to live more abundantly and fully.  

Imagine how different our world would be if more people from all religions began to practice this.  Imagine people digging deeply into their faith and beliefs and discovering that deluded, myopic, and fundamentalist expressions of their faith and beliefs no longer fit. 

Imagine a world where scriptural literalism was left on the pile.  Or misogynistic practices.  Or hatred of others because of their religion.  Or bigotry, racism, and homophobia. 

What if more and more of us left all those unnecessary and harmful ideas in the dustbin of history, refusing to put them back into spiritual holes that we eventually fill up in other, more life-giving, world-changing ways?

I don't know about you, but that sounds like heaven right here on Earth. 

May it be so for all of us.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all now and forever. Amen.  


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