My Shovel :: by Grant Phillips

Twenty six years, that’s how long I’ve had my trusty shovel. It has a short wooden handle, with a hand grip at the top and a rounded metal blade at the bottom. We go way back.

My wife and I moved into our house here in the sub-division 26 years ago, and this shovel was my first purchase for our dreams for the yard. We decided to plant a Bradford Pear tree in the front yard. To do this right, one needs to dig a fairly good-size hole. So I started digging. Soon after, Debbie wanted to dig awhile, so we took turns. By the time we’re done, I had noticed throughout all this back and forth digging one peculiar thing. When I was digging, no cars went up or down the street. When she was digging, there was always at least one or more cars to drive by. I told her that our neighbors were going to think I was a terrible person by having my wife do all the work while I stood there and watched. We got a good laugh out of that.

Anyway, I have used that shovel many, many times to plant trees, bushes, and other plants throughout the yard. When subtracting twenty six years from my current age, we find that I was a much younger man at the time; 44 to be exact. Just a few years ago, the shovel came back out to reverse all this stuff we had planted. It was time for them to go. I was approaching the years, quickly I might add, that it was just too much work to take care of everything. So most of it is now gone. Thank goodness.

Last night I got to thinking about how I always clean it after each use, as I do all my tools, and something occurred to me.

When using the shovel, of course it gets dirty. When I’m done working with it, I wash all the dirt off and dry it real well with a large towel I use for a rag. My 26 year old shovel has no rust and it has no nicks and bangs on the blade. Actually, the blade is somewhat shiny and sharper around the edge. From the tip of the blade to the top of the handle, it is nearly like new.

I’ve seen other shovels, owned by other people, that are never cleaned up and they are rusty, banged up and filthy. They’re shovels are much younger than mine, but you would never know it.

Now I’m not saying any of this to boast about my cleaning habits for my tools. That’s just me, but it has paid off.

We Christians are a lot like that shovel. We dig around in the dirt and get dirty. Some of us may be digging in the mud and others in the rich soil of a small garden, but we’re all digging somewhere, because none of us are without sin. We’re just saved sinners. Even at our best, we still get dirty. Isaiah put it this way.

“Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5)

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

Even though we are a Christian and our salvation  is guaranteed by the seal of the Holy Spirit within us (eternal security), we still get dirty (sin), and because of this, we need to be cleaned up after each use.

Jesus got this point across with Peter.

“Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath (who have been saved) need only to wash their feet (confess our sins to restore fellowship); their whole body is clean (we are saved). And you are clean, though not every one of you (referring to Judas).” (John 13:10 NIV) (My comments added)

The “bath,” (salvation) provides the relationship, and the “wash their feet,” (confession of sins), restores the fellowship.

Romans 10:9 provides our relationship with God. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (This we do but once.)

1 John 1:9 restores our fellowship with God. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (This we should do as often as necessary.)

Just as I wash the shovel and dry it off before I put it in the storage building, the purpose of the laver at the Tabernacle was for washing (cleansing) before entering the Holy Place.

When we Christians make a habit of constantly being washed, we remain more often in a state of being clean. We look shinier and have a sharper edge. We work better. The following verse has a lot to do with that also.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Failing to keep ourselves washed clean leaves a Christian who begins to rust, remains dirty and doesn’t work as well as he/she should.

A lot of Christians have become nearly useless in serving the Lord, because they don’t keep themselves clean. They have become rusty, and have a dull edge. Oh, the relationship is secure. God is our Father and always will be our Father, but is there any fellowship between us and our Father in Heaven? Consider the analogy of my shovel and see what you think.

Grant Phillips


Pre-Rapture Commentary:

Rapture Ready