As I was eating my breakfast and drinking my coffee this morning I read this article in WORLD Magazine. The article talks about getting our hands dirty when we are given work to do. The author mentions that she had pests in her garden that she tried to rid with insecticidal soap, but ultimately had to get down on her hands and knees and pick the destructive bugs out of her plants one-by-one.
The only way I found finally to defeat the harlequin bug was to get on my hands and knees in the lettuce bed, face down into the green leaves to pluck the little pests by hand, one by one, sometimes feeling their tiny pincer legs and their slime run down my grimy thumb before dropping them into a bucket of hot soapy water. I had to examine each leaf, up close, and sometimes chase the little bugs with my fingers through the dirt.
I can relate to that story because we found a destructive green worm in our garden a week or two ago. Fortunately, we found it early before it sapped the life from our tomato plant, or any other plants in our garden on which it may have also decided to munch. Again, fortunately, I had my husband to do the dirty work for me. He plucked the worm from the plant and dropped it into soapy water so that it could do no more harm.
Earlier in the article the author, Mindy Belz, mentions a story about how St. Paul’s Cathedral survived the London Blitz in 1940. A group of firefighters, called St. Paul’s Watch, looked after the building to ensure its preservation. They got their hands dirty to preserve something that was important to them. The Cathedral would not have survived the Blitzkrieg’s bombs and the fires of London without the sweat and handiwork of those people.
Belz concludes her article with this thought:
In the incarnation of Jesus Christ—the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14)—we have the miraculous coming of God into the mire of life. In the coming of the Holy Spirit we His followers become His temple (1 Corinthians 3:16), His hands and feet. Our translation even in this life gives us freedom to move toward people, toward problems. And sometimes to get our hands dirty.
The work God has given to us in this life is important. We need to get our hands dirty resisting temptation, serving our neighbors, and in doing such serving the Lord. But our work will never be as great and glorious as the dirty work that Jesus accomplished on our behalf. He became one of us to redeem us. He took on lowly flesh to cleanse all flesh through His death and resurrection.
Thanks be to God that He loved us enough to come into the dirt of the world and save us.