Stones can be many things — colorful, hard, rugged, polished, precious, and numerous other qualities that makes them all unique and different. We’ve been studying about how stones are used in the Bible and about how Christ is the cornerstone upon which we build our lives and our faith. We went on then to study about our roles as living stones that build up our Savior’s church, as referenced in I Peter 2, and how the living water of Christ’s love smooths us out and forms us in His way.
To conclude this series, we’re going to look at how to avoid becoming dead stones. We know what it means to be living stones, but how can we begin to erode and crumble under the weight of this world? Are we being the smooth stones that Christ’s love shapes, or are we retaining sharp edges that can harm our fellow Christians?
Living Under a Rock
Have you ever used the expression, “What rock have you been under?” It usually refers to someone who seems out of touch in some important way. Moreover, what are we allowing to grow up under us as stones? Have we become a haven for negativity and harmfulness because we have grown stagnant in our spiritual development.
There are many forms a stone can take. I Peter 2:8 refers to Christ’s rejection being a stone of stumbling, but we can become stumbling stones for other reasons. Consider Romans 14 where Paul speaks about being stumbling blocks because we are holding each other to standards other than God’s. Instead of promoting peace, we create conflict and cause others to trip and fall.
We can furthermore allow ourselves to stumble over the truth of Christ’s word. It might contradict our traditions. Christ’s word might simply say what we don’t want it to say. In that case, we become unmovable stones. It is a good thing to stand firm in the rock of Christ’s word, but we must beware of becoming so rooted in our own opinions and traditions that we don’t allow God’s word to move us. This kind of stone is also inactive. It’s there, but it’s not doing anything useful.
Jesus speaks of stony ground in the parable of the sower. We should be building up, but, if we’re just sitting in the ground, we are creating an area where nothing can grow. This sort of inactivity not only fails to support the church, but it actively hurts growth and development. We are called to encourage each other in unity, as living and active stones, to better build up the fellowship of Christ.
Some stones are harmful. They are sharp and abrasive. They are oddly shaped, and a stonemason will use a chisel to carve that stone into a useful shape. Likewise, our Lord should be reshaping and changing us so we can better fit together. We lose our hurtful qualities. We lose our abrasiveness and rough edges so we can better form His church.
As living stones, we have to be able to fit together. We come from various backgrounds and will all have various opinions on a number of topics. We will have different characteristics, and different ways of communicating. Putting that many people together will invariably cause problems, but we can fit together better if we allow God to reshape us and allow His unity to hold us together.
Stones and Death
Stones have also been used to seal tombs, as Christ’s was after the crucifixion. Stones seal away the dead. These stones live in the past, and we can’t be the type of stone that seals away life in favor of preserving the past. This might look like traditionalism or defeatism. We have to be the type of stones that open up to life rather than preserve what is past.
Alternatively, stones can cause death. David used a stone to bring down Goliath. Stones were common tools of execution in ancient cultures. as in Deuteronomy 21 and 22. We see this form of execution actually happen to Stephen in Acts 7:59. We can be stones that God uses to defeat Satan, or we can allow ourselves to be used to harm other Christians. Our words can be stones that harm others, or they can use words that build each other up. The type of stones you and I allow ourselves to be will inform how we let ourselves be used.
God wants us to be living stones, entirely and completely submerged in His reshaping love and forgiveness. He wants to mold us into something better and more useful to His ministry. But it begins with you and I deciding to enter into that flood. It begins with totally giving ourselves over to Him so that we can each be what He would have us to be. His invitation is to come to the eternal fountain that will wash us and make us new stones, ready to be built into His kingdom.
lesson by Dawson Guyer