“… Look to the rock from which you were hewn and to the quarry from which you were dug” (Isaiah 51:1).

            The prophet Isaiah mentions the words above that sounds much more noble and respectable than its literal meaning. The word quarry actually refers to “A hole” in the Hebrew text. Never forget ‘the hole of the pit.’ It is a good idea to take a backward glance at “the hole of the pit” from which Christ lifted us. Let us not just think about it, let us admit it. It has a way of keeping us all on the same level-recipients of grace. Even those who are extolled and admired have “holes from which they were dug.”

            Some folks go to great lengths to hide their humble origin. We often think we should mask the truth of our past lest people think less of us-especially if our today is much more respectable than our yesterday. But the truth is, when we peel off our masks, others are usually not repelled; they are drawn closer to us. And frequently the more painful or embarrassing the past, the greater are others’ appreciation and respect. Those who are extolled and admired have ‘holes’ from which they were dug.

            With Moses it was murder; with Elijah it was deep depression; with Peter it was public denial; with Samson it was recurring lust; with Thomas it was cynical doubting; with Jacob it was deception; with Rahab it was prostitution; with Jephthah it was his illegitimate birth. Not even that bold body of reformers had lily-white pasts. Why some of them had crawled out of the deepest, dirtiest most scandalous “holes” you could imagine. And it was that which kept them humble and honest men unwilling to be glorified or idolized. As they took Isaiah’s advice and looked at “the holes of the pit” they found no place where so ever for pride.

            Marian Anderson, the black American who deserved and won worldwide acclaim as a concert soloist did not simply grow great. She has never forgotten that her roots reach back into poverty. No amount of public acclaim will ever cause her to forget that her mother took in washing to put food in little Marian’s stomach. She gave concerts at the White House for the Roosevelt and the King and Queen of England. Above all, one Easter Sunday in Washington D.C. when she stood beneath the Lincoln statue and sang for a crowd of 75,000 which included cabinet members, court Justices and most members of Congress. Miss Anderson quietly told the reporter that the greatest moment of her life was the day she went home and told her mother she would not have to take in washing anymore.

            The next time we are tempted to believe our own stuff, let us first look back to the pit from which we were dug. It has a way of shooting holes in our pride.