Borrowed Tools and Tombs

“Why you gonna buy a tomb when you can just borrow one?” 

He, like most Alabamians, pronounced borrow, “bar-ee.” 

He was speaking of the King’s tomb, the beautiful limestone one belonging to Joseph of Aramethia. It was brand new and had never been used. Joseph had prepared his final resting place, but on that dark day Jesus was the dead man in need of it. 

The Preacher Man had acknowledged that the tomb hadn’t been intended for the One who was going to be using it. He communicated that the tomb was to be used by Jesus.  He noted that sometimes it’s better to borrow something than to outright buy it. 

The Preacher Man used to be in the plumbing business and every now and again his old trade makes its way into his sermons. 

“Some-a y’all are that way about tools. You’d rather bar-ee ‘em then buy ‘em.” 

He chuckled  and I got tickled. I knew just what he was implying, some folks borrow things and they don’t return them. Sometimes some folks, well-intentioned or not, borrow things and just fail to give them back.

 Truth is, I am notorious for it. 

I’ll have really good intentions when I borrow stuff but the truth is I’m forgetful and I mislay things or I put it in a place so I won’t forget and I inevitably forget where that place is. Just a week or so ago I borrowed a book from a friend and had she not texted asking for it, it would have likely made its way into my collection. I will often find things months after I’ve intended to return them and by that time I am embarrassed to admit I have had the item for so long. Case in point, I presently have a Dolla-Store storage container awaiting return to its owner. It came to me filled with a half-dozen of the world’s best peanut butter cookies made by my friend Erica. It’s been sitting in the same spot in my laundry room for about six months. 

As the Preacher Man made the statement about the borrowed tools and the borrowed tomb my imagination took me to the place in the garden that dusky evening, His lifeless body removed from the cross needing a final resting place.

I imagined Joseph and Nicodemus making their way to what would be a borrowed tomb. I wondered if Joseph knew that the tomb would only be needed for a couple of days. I imagined Nicodemus carrying the excessive amount of burial spices he’d brought over his shoulder like some men carry animal feed or dog food. 

That night wasn’t Nicodemus’ first night encounter with Jesus. I wonder if he even gave it much thought as they prepared Jesus’ body for burial, or if it was one of those things he thought about with the hindsight of processing such major events. 

Jesus didn’t take much from this life, from the world, instead He gave and He gave. 

He gave love when He was handed hate. He gave forgiveness when faced with the unforgivable. He gave Grace in the face of adversity. He gives forgiveness when it is undeserved, and on that Sunday morning some two thousand years ago He gave back that borrowed tomb as He was raised from the dead and He didn’t need it anymore. 

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