The Value of Our Proper Place

It’s almost unbelievable how sermons can provoke seemingly irrelevant thoughts! I take notes of sermons, and write these random extras at the bottom of the page, separate from the rest. That’s where I found a scribble from my Sunday-sidetrack.

This week, we heard about the pastor’s recent journeys in Africa. Overall, his trip was extremely worthwhile, except for a few puzzling or amusing events, plus an occasional frustration! As I wrote on my notepad, I copied one of his PowerPoint diagrams. A large stone at the base represented Jesus as the foundation of the church. Then the Apostles and Prophets above him, and on top of them, other workers in the church – all stones. This drawing illustrated the situation in Africa, where many wonderful Christians are eager to start churches, but also desperate for balanced teaching from God’s Word.

Immediately I asked myself, ‘what if the rest of us were at the bottom, instead of Jesus? What sort of foundation would we be?’ I know these might seem silly questions, but I often arrive at interesting places because of them. I may not always take an inventory of answers, only moving along from one idea to another until I grab onto something that grounds me. They make me think about my place in the world, the church, and my family. Do you occasionally have similar queries or am I the only quirky one?

My first conclusion was to quickly say to myself, ‘I’m glad it’s Jesus, and not me, who is at the bottom’. I need to know Jesus is there: a sure foundation. He doesn’t have one high or low side. Unlike some of the loaves of bread I make, Jesus is consistent, the same all over.

As for me, I have holes, like scoria, that can fill with soil, insects, spiders and broken pieces of stone; even flowers. I might be alright to use as part of a rock garden, but not as the basis of a weight-bearing wall! It’s amazing that God will use oddities, but only if we’re perfectly fitted for his use. What do I mean by that? Well, I know we can’t use this illustration for everything, but a person like me is a shelter for others in God’s creation. I’m not meant to be the main block that sets the pattern for the whole structure. I’m way up there with the ‘helps’, the common stones. And God’s been forming me all these years into the exact fit for the place He’s already made ready.

Next I was off again with this thought: From those to whom much is given, much will be required. How on earth did that appear so suddenly? See, I told you my mind has ideas of its own. Anyway, this is how I see it connected to the place I occupy. If you read the verse in its Bible context in Luke 12:48, you’ll see what Jesus was talking about in one of the stories that he told his friends. It was in answer to a question from Peter, his disciple. He wanted to know if the parable Jesus had just told applied to everyone, or just them. It was about being ready for Jesus’ return. His Master’s answer was to tell another story, and at the end, he said this: Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities! It seems obvious to me that we should all be ready.

Now tell me, how is that connected with the sermon topic? There is a connection, but maybe you can work it out for yourself! I’ll leave it to you.

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