I was living in the middle of a bucket brigade. My arms continually weighed down with a heavy load; always in the middle, never at either the beginning or the end where empty was an option. And, the sad part was, I didn’t even know it. Until the day my son, a bucket, and a shovel hit me with a truth I later realized God had been trying for years to show me.
It was a beautiful Saturday in Spring. The kind of day which begs you to spend as much time as possible outside, enjoying all that Spring has to offer. We were doing our part, having been invited to enjoy an al fresco brunch at a friend’s house. She and her husband and children live in a comfortable house with a large enough backyard to accommodate a trampoline, a sizable garden, a zip-line and a wooded area with a creek. My children were in heaven, to say the least.
My second child, my E-baby, was a little younger than the other boys who were there and not quite big enough to keep up with them the way he wanted. So my friend, being particularly sensitive and astute to these things, provided E-baby with an alternative that involved a shovel and a corner of her garden where he could dig to his heart’s content. Typical of E-baby, he wanted to know what he was supposed to dig. My friend said, “Dig me a hole, E. Just dig me a hole.” Happily he went to work, sure that he was involved in something momentous.
It wasn’t long before we looked up from our conversation on the back deck to see E-baby struggling to lug a big bucket across the yard. My friend called out over the deck rail, “Hey E, whatchya got in the bucket?” E-baby looked up, surprised, and said, simply, “A hole.” He was bringing my friend the hole she requested he dig. And he was very proud of how big it was. Of course we were all in stitches, watching this little boy dragging a large bucket full of dirt, a “hole,” through the back yard. Even though he couldn’t understand what the fuss was all about.
And then it hit me. Just as hard as if he’d taken that shovel to the side of my head instead of using it to fill his bucket. How like him I was, lugging my “holes” with me. I think I’ve left my latest and greatest pitfall in life behind me, but all I’m doing is physically moving further away from the hole, lugging all the dirt that made up that event – the regret, anger, disappointment, and failure – in a big bucket with me. Caught in the middle of that bucket brigade. And, I have to tell you, it’s hard to get very far lugging a big bucket of dirt with you.
But how do you get rid of that bucket, get out of that brigade? I think it takes constant and intentional recognition of the incredible blessing of the Cross. Where Jesus Christ poured out His love and His blood as the ultimate sacrifice, the once-and-for-all atonement, the propitiation for all our sins. And then, when I focus on Christ and the forgiveness and grace His love gives us, I’ll find myself at the end of that brigade line, emptying out that bucket once and for all. At the foot of the Cross. After all, He died and rose again to ensure us a life which could be lived in repentance, not weighed down by buckets full of sin.
What about you? Is your bucket getting heavy yet?
There’s always room at the foot of the Cross . . .