Mud and Fingernails

by Wayne Cordeiro on January 06, 2022

Good morning! Glad you are joining me for devotions. I send these out each week, Monday through Friday. Today is Thursday, January 6th, 2022. What is faith? That’s a theological word that can get quite ethereal, but today, Jesus distills this word that Brainiacs have wrestled with for years in the classrooms. The only problem … this word is best defined in the fields. Read on..

Today's Reading:
Genesis 15,16,17; Luke 6


“And why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)


There are two kinds of people in the world — those who know what to do … and others who do what they know.

Pharisees make up the first bunch. They had lots of knowledge but without appropriate follow-through. For the Pharisees, “knowing” was their goal. They had the image and the persona and felt that simply having knowledge of what to say and when excused them from having to suffer or get too involved in messy stuff called “life.” 

But here’s the crux: We can “know” everything there is to know about planting a vegetable garden and maybe even teach a class on it, but we’ll still starve to death unless we are willing to work our hands in the ground and get dirt under our fingernails.You can show others the knowledge you have, and they may be enamored with your “ability,” but the reality is this: it’s not “ability” until it is actually done! You aren’t “able” until the garden is growing and deliciously edible vegetables are being harvested. Until that point, you don’t have the “ability.” 

Classroom competency is several counties across the state-line from life experience.


God’s ability begins to work through me only when I put my hands into the dirt and have to dig mud from my fingernails nightly. James says it this way: “Saying you are spiritual without actually working your hands in the soil actually stinks.” That’s right. Well, he says it with a little more civility, but it has the same meaning — “Faith without works is dead!” 

I think one of the first things Jesus will do when I arrive in heaven will be to check under my fingernails. And as I profusely apologize for the dirt while fumbling for my trusty pocket knife, I hope to hear Him whisper, “Well done. And by the way, all the fingernails in heaven are in the same condition.”


Lord Jesus, help me be a man of Your ability — not just knowledge, but daily application. Help me build an enduring house on the bedrock of applying what You’ve taught me to do. Then, when You take me by the hand, may I still have a little dirt under my fingernails. I ask these things in the name of Him whose hands were pierced for me.

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