He dug his own grave

You’ve heard the idiom, “He dug his own grave.” It generally means a person was responsible for his or her own demise.

For example, the employee who talks back to the boss. The husband who lets a boundary slip. Lance Armstrong.

But how would it change my perspective on life if I literally spent the money, time and energy to dig my own grave? It would obviously have to be done while I still had strength, so I would presumably have life to live after the digging was done.

The idea comes from a biblical patriarch. In Genesis 50, Joseph quotes his father, Jacob (a.k.a., Israel), “I am about to die; bury me in the tomb I dug for myself in the land of Canaan.” Did you catch it? He dug his own grave.

If I spent some time with a shovel in the city cemetery, would the stress of modern life weigh less? Would irritating people not bother me as much? Would my wife’s beauty shine brighter and my kids bring me greater joy?

It’s spiritual law that we learn more at a funeral than a party.

Once I looked for a sponsor for my son’s little league baseball team. The parents of one player owned a funeral home. With the jersey printing deadline approaching, I asked them to sponsor the team.

They, of course, were happy to help, assuming we didn’t mind playing with a funeral home on our backs all season. I didn’t mind. As the coach of a team of unknown talent, “The Walking Dead” could be a fallback mascot if we didn’t win a game.

Plus, it never hurts to teach kids early, and remind adults often, that there’s more to life than winning and baseball and stuff and ourselves. “Begin with the end in mind,” Stephen Covey said. The 7 Steps of Highly Effective People author came to his own end last year. I assume it didn’t catch him off guard.

Back to baseball. Unbeknownst to me, a lawyer had already committed to sponsor my son’s team. I let the mortician down easy.

Speaking of death and lawyers, this week we recall a man who was put to death by religious lawyers.

He had breathed life into the people who took his. He dreamed the steer that provided the leather that licked his back. He conjured the ore that formed the nails that pinned him to the tree, a tree he had seeded.

And, he shaped the rock that would one day hold his lifeless body. Like his forefather Jacob, Jesus dug his own grave.

Lucky for us, the one who held the strength to surrender to death also had power over it. He crafted the cotton that laced the linens that were left behind in the empty tomb.

All of us have dug our own graves with mistakes we’ve made. We are responsible for our own downfall, our own ruin. We cannot ourselves put the pieces back together again. That’s why the Creator dug his own grave, then entered the flesh, suffered its shame, and rose in freedom.

To share his freedom with us. O glorious day.

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. Follow him at http://www.kwt.info.


5 Responses to “He dug his own grave”

  1. 2 mrdonnigeria March 27, 2013 at 23:29

    Great article again Thank you Dad


  2. 3 Diana Anzollitto March 28, 2013 at 10:06


    I always enjoy your column, but this week was exceptional. I read it to my husband and he also was very impressed. Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful messages, touched with a bit of authenticity that is refreshing. Thank you for the evident Christlikeness in your presentation.

    Diana Anzollitto, LMSW

    Executive Director

    Hill Country Pregnancy Care Center

    Boerne, Texas



  3. 4 Grant Rampy March 28, 2013 at 11:41

    Love this one.

    Did you ask me recently about my ability to help you find more outlets for your columns? I recall that being an item covered in a recent exchange. My response: I would reach out to Greg Jaklewicz at the Abilene Reporter-News. I’m not sure how he would be able to work with you in terms of a financial arrangement, but it might be worthwhile to accept pocket change or share your work gratis as a means of seeding the ground for future publication. I think you’ve got a book in your future at the rate you’re going. One of the fringe benefits of ARN publication even if it doesn’t earn you a dime is that you would mean you have access to free proofing and editing along with the ARN’s stamp of approval to grease the skids when you take your material to a book publisher. Just my two cents…

  4. 5 jessestroup March 28, 2013 at 12:50

    Kevin,  Great content in the article and put in a way that is palliative to many.  The funniest line to me was, “I let the mortician down easy.”  Keep using your God given talents. Jesse

    Jesse R. Stroup

    Director of Spiritual Care

    Lifeline Chaplaincy

    2777 Stemmons Place, Ste. 1020

    Dallas, TX 75207



Comments are currently closed.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 209 other followers


%d bloggers like this: