• Today's Daily Devotion
Face To the Coal
During the darkest days of the war there was trouble in England’s coal mines. Workers were leaving the mines to enlist in the army. Many young men wanted to be ...

Face to the Coal

During the darkest days of the war there was trouble in England’s coal mines. Workers were leaving the mines to enlist in the army. Many young men wanted to be fighting in the front lines, not digging coal out of the ground, and coal production was in jeopardy when the nation needed it most. Winston Churchill went to the mines to deliver a speech and to give the miners a vision of the future:

He pictured for them what would take place when the Nazis were beaten and the war was over. He said there would be a great parade honoring all who sacrificed for victory. First, there would be the Royal Navy sailors who had battled Hitler at sea. Then would come the Royal Air Force pilots who had fought the Luftwaffe in the skies. Then would come the Royal Army soldiers who had fought at Dunkirk. Last of all would come a long line of sweat-stained, soot-streaked men in miner’s caps. Someone would cry from the crowd, “Where were you during the dark days of our struggle?” And from ten thousand throats would come the answer, “We were deep in the earth, with our faces to the coal.”

Churchill’s vision was powerful. With tear-streaked faces the miners went back to work with the firm belief that every piece of coal they brought out of the earth was vital to the survival of their nation. They knew that their work might be mundane and seem unglamorous, but that it was necessary to the larger cause. This story has been used many times to inspire others in addition to these miners. We know that, as Christians, our service to God can often take mundane forms. It was Jesus himself who washed the feet of his disciples. He did this to focus their attention, and ours, on service to other people. He might be telling us to keep “our faces to the needs of others,” and to rest in the knowledge that there is no such thing as mundane service in his name.

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

—John 13:14–15


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