Bro. Dale Williams and I did a lot of things together in our forty years of friendship, including perform in talent shows, play in a church basketball league, cheer on LWA volleyball teams, organize church field trips, and build the worship center.
As we were working on the worship center we had a lot of holes to dig and then fill with stone and concrete. These holes would serve as the foundation for the dozens of columns that are part of the “bones” of a big building. One day, as I was shoveling stone into one of these holes and Bro. Dale was leveling the stone in the bottom of the hole, I accidentally threw a shovel of stone on his foot. “Oh, sorry, Brother Dale,” I said.
He chuckled and told me it reminded him of a story.
A farmer found his lost goat in the bottom of a narrow, deep hole. The goat was unharmed, but it was also unable to climb out. No matter how hard the farmer tried, he couldn’t lower a lasso onto the goat’s head. How was he to rescue his goat?
Simple. Throw dirt on the goat’s head. Each time a shovel full of dirt landed on the goat’s head, the goat would just shake it off. As the dirt accumulated on the bottom of the hole, the goat naturally stepped up on top of the dirt. Eventually, the dirt floor of the hole rose to where the goat could climb out.
I never forgot the story because I find it profound. If we want to get out of the depths of the spiritual hole we are in, we have to be willing to be humble. We have to take the full weight of our sin on our heads, but not so the sin can crush us. We do it so our Master can save us. And think of all the work the Master has done to save us. He must love us!
1Pet. 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.
In part, the story is profound because of the man who told it to me. Bro. Dale was a humble man who was always willing to come to the altar after a challenging Word was preached. If the Word put dirt on his head, he never took offense to it. He understood that to rise above our personal shortcomings is actually our Master’s way of saving us.
I miss you, my Brother Dale!