“Is Your Mud Sterile?”

It sounds like the lead-in line for a joke—“Is your mud sterile?” Actually it was a serious question from a young mother. Her son had spent a week at our camp—their first experience with camp. Once her son got home, he told her about the joys of playing volleyball in the mud pit. Of course, he was thrilled; but she was a bit distraught. Consequently the call to the church office, “Is your mud sterile?” As serious as the mother was, the question did elicit some laughter.

Yet it is a question that demands our individual consideration. After all, we are mud! We are mud from creation. Genesis 2 tells us that God made mankind (‘adam) from the ground (‘adamah). Not only are we literally made from mud, but our name is basically “Mud.” We are “houses of clay” (Job 4:19). We are “earthy” (1 Cor. 15:48). Our nature reflects our origin. Our origin and heritage during our time on earth reflects the fact that we are mud.

At the same time we are admonished to be pure! 1 Peter 1:15 “As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” Our God-given goal for life may not be to be sterile, but it is to be sanctified. Leviticus 20:7 “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.”

Sanctification is not the result of an act . . . or of a decision . . . or of an intention. It does not come from the company we keep or the environment we frequent. It does come from a lifelong pursuit. “Flee fornication” (1 Cor. 6:18). “Flee from idolatry” (1 Cor. 10:14). “Flee also youthful lusts” (2 Tim. 2:22). There are no rest areas and there can be no detours.

So let me ask you—“Is your mud sterile?”


About Charles McLain
I am Chair and Professor of Old Testament at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA.

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