My grandmother is 101 years old. She reads 5 to 10 books a week, sometimes 2 or 3 at a time. Books are all over her home. I was at her house one day and I saw an old book that interested me, but I hesitated to pick it up. My reason for pause was so incredibly stupid that I marveled at it.
I hesitated because it was dusty. I didn’t want to get my hands dirty. Was I really willing to pass up whatever wisdom was in this book in order to avoid the inconvenience of dust on my hands? I could not believe how ridiculous that seemed, and yet I wondered how often this happens. How often do we miss truth because it isn’t polished and attractive?
Matthew 8:4 – 9 (NLT) says, “‘Teacher,’ they said to Jesus, ‘this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?’ They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, ‘All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!’ Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.”
Jesus got his hands dirty. He wasn’t concerned with how this woman’s sullied life would affect Him or His reputation. He was willing to be scorned for her sake. Jesus sought out the ugly, the outcasts, the uneducated, the timid, the old, the diseased, the weirdos, and the foreigners. His work wasn’t all about preaching sermons. He didn’t form a committee to talk about helping those in need. He went out and he helped them HIMSELF. He bent down and washed their grimy feet. And He commands us to do the same (John 13:14). Loving our neighbor is hard, dirty, uncomfortable, lowly work. And yet, it is our high calling.
I have often wondered what wisdom Jesus wrote in the dust that day. I like to think that it was done as a reminder to those with stones of condemnation that we are ALL dust (Genesis 3:19) and in need of mercy. Remembering this story inspires me to humble myself so that I don’t miss what the LORD is doing right in front of me.
Christ was not too proud to make Himself meek. Who am I not to get a little dust on my hands?