The Earth Dirt Story, Lesson in Faith By Dr. Marcus Bach

(Excerpted from a lecture given at a Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship retreat in Charlotte, NC, 8/23/74.)

My wife and I have a cabin here in North Carolina, which I am returning to this evening.

A year ago, we ordered a load of dirt, to be delivered and poured on a certain side of a retaining wall near the cabin.

When we arrived at the cabin, the man delivering the dirt had poured it on the wrong side of the wall. I was kind of annoyed at this, but my wife was more annoyed and she was bugging me to go out and move that truckload of dirt with a shovel. I do not know if you have ever tried that or not, but it had been raining about 30-days before we came, which complicated the situation.

A few days later, in obedience to her nudging and threats, I put on my rain slicker and hat, got the shovel from my workshop and I went out and I dug into this dirt. In fact, a hippie friend said, "Donít call it dirt, call it earth." Beautiful.

So I went out and I attacked this earth-dirt. I had put a couple of shovel fulls on the other side of the wall and, well, you know how heavy it is and the kind of work it is. I like to exercise, but not work!

So, I stood there in the rain and I said to myself, "Marcus, you have been researching religion for thirty years. You talk about it a good deal. You think you know something about it. Once upon a time there was a man who said if you have the faith of a mustard seed you could remove mountains. And you canít even remove this hill of dirt?"

And so thinking this, I said, "Thank you, Father, and I went into the house."

I put down the shovel, went into the house where my wife had the fireplace lit and she said, "That didnít take you long."

I said, "It sure didnít."

She looked out through the window, "Wait a minute, itís still there!"

"No, it isnít."

She said, "But it is still there, I can see it!"

"Not through my eyes."

You must believe this. This was in the morning. In the afternoon, a man came walking down the path in the rain to our front door.

He introduced himself; "I am the new road repair foreman up here. We brought a piece of machinery that we do not want to leave up on the road over the weekend. Could we park it down here on your place?"

"What kind of machinery is it?" I asked.

"It is earth moving machinery."

I said, "Bring it down! However, there will be a slight charge."

"What do you mean?"

"See that load of dirt?" I pointed it out to him.

"Where do you want it?" he quickly replied.

"On the other side of that wall."

"No problem," he said.

He came down and in ten minutes had moved the pile of earth-dirt to the other side of the wall, beautifully done.

When he was done, we invited him in for a drink . . .of herb tea.

As we sat in front of the fireplace, I will never forget how my wife looked out the window and said, "I see it now."

I guess there is something like that that has to happen to us. And there are things like that that do happen to us. We realize that all roads that lead to God are good. It is not happening out there, it is happening within you and within me.

© 1974 Dr. Marcus Bach

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