Have you heard of the book, Muscle and a Shovel by Michael shank? That’s a question that was asked at our Houston-area preachers’ luncheon last month by one of our members. Interestingly, not one of the preachers there had heard of the book.

The questioner told the story of getting a phone call from a lady who wanted him to baptize her and her husband. When he asked to study with them as a prelude to the baptism, she replied, “It’s OK, we have read Muscle and a Shovel.” Then he asked what that was, the woman said, “Are you from the church of Christ?” When he tried to reply, he found that she had hung up, without leaving a name or contact number. But he decided that he had better look into Muscle and a Shovel.

He found the book to be an account of the conversion of a young man who thought he knew everything, but when challenged, decided to dig into the Scriptures with muscle and a shovel. He tried to find justifications for the things that he had been taught. He tried to find support for commonly held religious concepts. What he found was the truth. And he accepted it obediently.

I have now read the book and I want to recommend it to you, at least as a resource for any of you who might find yourself wanting to answer questions your friends may have about why you believe what you believe and practice what you practice. It may help you get past artificial defenses that sometimes become stumbling blocks for us. This book addresses so many of those issues.

The book is not exactly politically correct. In some ways it seems a bit blunt. There are some people that I encounter that I would never just hand this book to and suggest they read it, because they may just decide to be offended and not complete the book. But there are those who are open-minded seekers of the truth that would be greatly blessed by this man’s story.

Serving Him, Ralph


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