In the spring of 2000, my dad and I drove to North Carolina to document the works of art he and my Gramps had created out of stone. He told me he could pick out the stones that had smashed a finger, or been dropped on a toe. Every stone in every wall had a story. Dad talked a lot about a lot of things on that trip.
One thing in particular that dad told me was, “You never handle a rock twice. You make sure you pick up the rock you want to use, and you use it. If it doesn’t fit where you thought it would, you don’t lay it back down; you find another place for it. If it isn’t the right shape, you use a hammer to knock off what you don’t want. If it has a crack, you whack it and then you have two good rocks.”
I like to think that’s how it is with God, too. He’s the Master Builder, He’s the Artist, He’s making a building that will last; and He’s using you and me as the stones.
“As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones are being built into a spiritual house…” – 1 Peter 2:5
God doesn’t pick up a stone twice either. Once God chooses you, He begins a work in you and He will finish it. He won’t look at you and all your imperfections and think, “This isn’t a good rock” and cast you aside. He will make you good.
‘He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6
Unlike Dad and Gramps, who would break a rock along its weak spot because they couldn’t use a rock that might fail, God never breaks us. He uses pressure to reveal hidden weaknesses, for it’s in our weakness that He is strong.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect n weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out…” – Matthew 12:20
But He does chisel off the rough edges to smooth us into the perfect shape for the perfect place where He is using us. He uses persecution, suffering, other people, His Word, and whatever other tool He decides will refine us.
God is at work building something magnificent. Jesus is the cornerstone, the foundation stone, the solid rock upon which God builds. You and I are a part of the structure. We have a purpose. We are being built upon the foundation of those who have gone before us, but like the stones in dad’s walls, we support those beside us, and we will support those who come after us.
The rocks in Dad’s walls are all shapes and sizes, and each one is important. You are important. You must not look at other rocks and think, “Why am I not in that spot.” You must be sure that you are doing the job God would have you do in the spot where God has you.
What would God have you do, right where you are; in your church, community, Bible study, neighborhood, school, office, barracks, book club, or hospital.
When I was a little girl, I didn’t exactly think of the walls, chimneys, stairways, fireplaces or houses Dad and Gramps built as works of art; I just thought this was what they did: They built things out of rock – things that last!