After riding through the west African plantation, we came to a creek fed lagoon at the end of the road. As we got out of the car, a number of dugout canoes began racing toward us across the lagoon. The boatmen were out of their dugouts before they even touched the shore. They smilingly yelled their fee for ferrying us across the lagoon. The loud bargaining took a few minutes to complete. Once seated in our canoes, we raced across the lagoon to the village on the other side. We watched with fascination as hundreds of huts on stilts came into clear view.
We landed quickly as we absorbed the sights and sounds of the village. People were working all around us uninterrupted by our arrival. Soon the smells of salty sea air, fish, and also grain engulfed us. The smell of grain was strong as the young girls were milling it in stone bowls all around us. They used long blunt ended sticks to grind the grain. With dance-like movements they alternated hands as they rhythmically pounded the grain in their bowls. The stick went down in the left hand, then tossed up and to the right hand and down again. Over and over they repeated this task, singing and smiling as they worked. They were as exuberant in their work as the young boatmen had been in theirs.
While we were watching the varied life of the village about us, our guide had been searching for the village chief. As we moved further into the village, we noticed a tall man standing under a hut holding it up. As others braced its support legs, he stood there doing nothing but providing the muscle. Others attended to the more intricate work of attaching the legs and bracing. Our guide stopped nearby so we could watch, although there wasn’t much to see.
We were there to see the chief, who they called the headman. As we grew bored watching the simple repetitive work, our guide noticed our impatience. He simply looked at us and said, “Wait”. We waited , but we could see no one who looked like a chief to us. We could only see the workers. Soon they finished shoring up the hut. We continued to wait as they checked their work. Finally, the guide smiled and said,”This is the head man of the village.” He was pointing at the tall muscular man who had been lifting the hut. When he noticed our surprise, he explained, “No one else is tall enough to hold it so high but the headman. No one else is strong enough to hold up the huts safely.” You see, even though he was the chief, he humbled himself. He did that menial task simply because he was the best choice for the job that needed to be done.
My friends, that is just like Christ. Philippians 2:5-8 ” Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, (6) who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, (7) but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. ( And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
Let this same mind be in us to do what needs to be done.
Dr. J. L. EDWARDS