Recently, students and alumni from Herbert W. Armstrong College dug on a three-month excavation on the Ophel in Jerusalem, Israel. They weren’t much older than you, and there will be digs in the future. Would you like to go on one? If so, you need to begin preparing now. There are three steps you should take right now to prepare for a future dig in Jerusalem.
1. Learn to love hard work.
To get most of their prayer and Bible study in and make it to the dig by 6:30 a.m., the students from this past excavation would get up from anywhere between 3:30 and 4 a.m. They would work until 2:30 p.m., and then they would head back to watch their college classes in the evenings. Every day of the dig was a day of hard work.
If you would like to go to the dig in the future, cultivate a love for hard work. Hard work is good. The world tells us that if we can be lazy, we’ll be happy. Don’t believe that lie. You are actually happiest when you are hard at work.
Both the sluggard and the hard worker desire something, but only the hard worker actually gets what he desires (Proverbs 13:4). You can desperately desire to go to the dig, but if you don’t work hard now, you most likely won’t get the chance to support God’s Work in Jerusalem. On the other hand, if you cultivate the habit of working hard today—and really learn to love it—there will be no end to the ways God can use you in His Work.
If a farmer doesn’t sow his seed in the springtime, he will not have anything to harvest in the fall (Proverbs 20:4). It takes hard work at the right time to be a successful farmer, and the fruits of that work will not come until the crops are ready to harvest. There is no immediate reward—but the fruits will come, if the farmer works hard at the right time.
In terms of participating on an excavation, harvest time is when you are at college. Now, in the years preceding your college education, is the time to sow the seed. Now is the plowing stage, where you need to work hard and lay a good foundation for the fruits you will produce during and after your college years. You have to put in the work now—or else you won’t achieve anything later on. Learn to love hard work today.
2. Develop your native talents.
The king of Babylon was looking for young people who had “no blemish”— they had to be healthy. But they also had to be knowledgeable. The king was specifically looking for young people who were “skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science” (Daniel 1:4). These young people had to be able to stand before the king and speak logically. They had to be able to learn the Chaldean language quickly. The king of Babylon wanted the best—those he could really use. He wanted young people who had talent—and who were in the habit of developing their talents.
Daniel and his three friends fit this bill perfectly. They found “favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs” (verse 9) because they applied themselves to their studies. They worked hard to develop their talents! And they must have already been developing their talents before they were taken before the king—or else they never would have been taken to Babylon to meet the king in the first place!
On an archaeological excavation, you don’t just do grunt work. There is a lot of heavy lifting, but there is also a lot of theorizing about what you are digging up. You need to be able to see an area as how it would have looked when it was inhabited 2,000 years ago. You need to be able to tell when the layers change—when you hit a new layer of ancient occupation. Sometimes, the only way to tell is by the color of the soil, or even just the texture. When you are on the dig, you need to use your brain.
Thus, it is important that you are developing your mind today, in preparation for a future archaeological excavation, and just for life in general. Learn to concentrate on a task. Stop yourself from daydreaming.
And if you really apply yourself to developing your talents and mind, God will multiply your talents so you can be of better use in His Work—and even in the dig! Verse 17 says, “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom ….” God multiplied the talents they already had.
Get into the best state of your life physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally today—and God will multiply your talents for His Work.
3. Keep Jerusalem in your prayers.
You naturally think most about the things you are most interested in. If you love Jerusalem, you will be thinking about it—and praying about it! And keeping Jerusalem in your prayers will motivate you to continue working hard and developing your talents in preparation for a future dig.
Here are a few things you can add to your prayer list regarding Jerusalem: Pray that God opens doors and makes the next step in Jerusalem obvious to Pastor General Gerald Flurry. Pray that Dr. Eilat Mazar receives another excavation license from the Israel Antiquities Authority soon, as well as the financial aid she needs for it. Pray also for her health and the team of staff members who are helping her process the finds from the latest excavation right now. Pray that God would establish a branch of His college in Jerusalem.
God has a lot to do in Jerusalem, and for the most part, the people He uses to do the Work there are young people. If you would like to be one of those people in the near future, learn to work hard, develop your native talents, and keep Jerusalem in your prayers always. If you do, why wouldn’t God bless you with an opportunity to go to Jerusalem and dig for Him?
The time to start preparing for the dig is now!