About ten years ago, so the story goes, a newspaper announced that there was to be a contest to come up with a slogan to be put on a sign that would go on top of a designated mountain in the western United States. This particular mountain had been assigned as the place where the United States government was going to store all the nuclear waste produced in the United States – provided they could figure out a way to get it there.
The sign also had to say, very clearly – to anybody who might show up in, say, the next 10,000 years – “Don’t dig here.” This is a perfectly reasonable thing to want to put on the sign; the problem is that, given the rate at which languages evolve over time, in what language do we say this?
You might well reasonably be asking right now, “What in the world does nuclear waste have to do with a devotional?” Nothing, really. For our purposes, what matters here is the sign with its three-word command: Don’t dig here.
Many of us are very private individuals who keep most, if not all, things inside, whether good, bad, or indifferent. If anyone asks how we’re doing, we’ll respond with something along the lines of “I’m okay,” even when it’s obvious that we’re not. After that, most people correctly interpret that message to mean, “I’m not okay, but I don’t want to talk about it.”
In other words, “Don’t dig here.”
Most of us don’t want others to “dig here” because we’re afraid of what they might see, and that they’ll be so disgusted by what they find that they’ll just walk away and never come back.
And it’s not just other people to whom we do that. We do that to God as well. Many biblical characters, when called upon by God to do something, had an excuse for not doing so. Moses wasn’t a good speaker; Jeremiah was too young; Jonah didn’t want to preach to the heathens; and so on. They didn’t want their hidden talents dug up, and used by, God. Maybe they were afraid of failure; maybe they were afraid of success. We don’t know.
Whatever the excuse, though, eventually they did what they were called to do. Moses set his people free; Jeremiah preached an unpopular message before the exile; Jonah did go to Nineveh – reluctantly. Perhaps someday we too will shed our reluctance and yield to the call of God.
Who knows? We might even end up liking what we’ve been called to do.
PRAYER: Lord, you have called us to do great things for You, but we are so reluctant and stubborn. Please keep at it until we relent and say “Yes” to You and Your Kingdom. Amen.