Can You Dig It?

on Tuesday, June 6, 2017

In H. G. Wells’ science fiction novel The Time Machine, the Morlocks are the troglodyte creatures who live below the surface and emerge only at night to feed on the Eloi. Over much of the last two and a half weeks a few of us have felt like Morlocks, submerging ourselves more than 150 feet underground and emerging only for lunch breaks and at the conclusion of the day. We make jokes about finally being able to see the sun or getting fresh air and I’m fairly certain that more than one of our fearless leaders have referred to us as troglodytes.

The work here at Tel Gezer is hard, tiring, and almost never seems to go according to plan, assuming a plan exists. Some days plans change three or four times. As we approach the end of our dig season we take a step back to examine the goals that were set for the season and to measure our accomplishments. For most of us, we are the task-oriented, warrior Morlocks who do what we are told without question. We weren’t involved in the process of setting the original season goals and we may not even be familiar with precisely what those goals were. Yet, we trust the leadership of Dan Warner, Jim Parker, and Dennis Cole. We, typically, perform the tasks they assign without question because we recognize that they possess the experience and expertise that most of us are sorely lacking (with an emphasis on “sore” after nearly three weeks). In most cases, we willingly relinquish control of our days here at Gezer in order to accomplish goals set by men and women other than ourselves.

In a few days we will be returning to the states and resuming our normal lives. For some, that will mean the opportunity to sleep in a bit. I, for one, rarely start my day before 6:00 a.m. on purpose. We’ll leave behind the physically demanding work that leaves our bodies aching and doused in Icy Hot and return to our “desk jobs” that tax us in different ways. But we’ll also be returning to a world where our daily tasks aren’t mapped out for us by someone else. We’ll take back some sense of control and many of us couldn’t be happier about that!

And yet, there is something to be said for being a part of a team in which each member is designated to perform a certain task, or tasks, in order to accomplish a larger goal. There is something quite liberating about surrendering control, knowing that those in charge have a vision for this project that some of us couldn’t begin to have or understand, let alone set a proper course for achieving that vision. In a world where we are all taught to be the master of our own destinies, there’s a certain freedom that comes with relinquishing control.

The same can be said for our Christian faith. Giving up control does not always come easily and those who know me best will readily agree that I’m a bit of a control freak. But living a life of faithfulness to Christ Jesus doesn’t always mean setting “faith goals” for ourselves; it means simply to be willing to follow without hesitation. We are not called to bring anyone to salvation and we certainly aren’t called to bring about God’s Kingdom here on Earth. Those are the “goals” that God has already set forth and He is responsible for bringing them to fruition. Like our leaders here at Gezer, God has given us each a task to help bring about that goal. Our responsibility is not to set new goals or try to change God’s plans but rather to perform faithfully the tasks He has assigned us. These last three weeks have been an incredible privilege for me working on this project and helping to shape what we know about this beautiful land and the people who once inhabited it. I would venture to say that everyone who has ever participated in this project over the last eight years shares that sentiment. How much more privileged ought we feel that God has chosen to include us in His plans here on Earth and given us a task to perform for His glory?

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