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What is 160 pounds of dirt worth?

December 29, 2013
Pastor Boyce, St. John’s Lutheran, Reinbeck , Reinbeck Courier

Our family went on a week-long vacation. I don't remember what vacation it was but I remember our returning moments. We entered our house and found piles of red dust on every window sill and doorway. All the doors and windows were closed and locked, but the red clay dust from Oklahoma had been lifted into the air and deposited in doorways from Oklahoma to Minnesota as the wind carried it along. We didn't consider it attractive or wanted; it had no value to us. We vacuumed it up and put it out in the trash can.

How ironic, especially for Christians, that we use the word 'dirt' in different forms, to refer not just to what is in your flower garden, but also to human sin and moral filth. Someone who recognizes their sinfulness will say they "feel dirty." For this reason, a great deal of the Bible's imagery of mercy is drawn in the shape of cleansing and washing away. We are but dirt and are susceptible to dirt. Then why should God even consider saving our flesh and raising it again to live together with Him in His heavenly home?

The answer is simple. This is the relationship between the pot and potter. The common clay is taken by the potter and formed into something valuable after the creative hands of the artist shape it. Taken as clay a ceramic pot has almost no value of its own. In a junior high science class (c. 1963) I learned that the chemicals in our body were worth about 97?; recently I read that our human flesh is worth less than ten dollars.

We are the common clay; after all, God formed Adam out of the dust of the ground. The worth of the flesh is not measured by the value of the stuff of which we are made, any more than a ceramic pot made by a great artist has only the value of the clay. The divine creator/artist who formed mankind out of the dust of the ground, declares the vessels he created to be of infinite worth. God has redeemed mankind and declare a human's worth to be of infinite value; "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16)" The garden dirt of Eden was fashioned by God into a being seemingly of no worth. Yet God has redeemed these walking lumps of dirt/clay by rescuing them by His beloved and only Son, Jesus Christ.

What does 160 pounds of dirt worth to God? Our Creator-Heavenly Father's only begotten Son.

Christmas is a celebration of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, i.e., Jesus Christ coming into the world in human flesh, as a descendent of dirt-formed mankind, yet of God, or He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Christ came to give great value to the "cracked pots" we are on our own. What we mock and revile as weak and worthless (dirt), is now counted to be of great value because our heavenly Father honors it with the touch of His hands, molding and shaping us into the likeness to Christ. From the hymn, The Advent of Our King: "Before the dawning day. Let sins dark deeds be gone, The sinful self be put away, The new self now put on. All glory to the Son, Who comes to set us free, With Father, Spirit, ever one Through all eternity." (Lutheran Service Book 331:5-6)

A Blessed Christmas as you celebrate the birth of your redeemer, who redeems you (once dust) now a child of God by grace alone. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." (1 John 3:1)

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

Love to you in Christ, the incarnate Son of God, our Lord and Savior.



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