For whom do you carry your stone?
One of the most influential people in my life, Elisabeth Elliot died this past June. She was a Christian author and speaker. Her first husband, Jim Elliot, was killed in 1956 while attempting to make missionary contact with the Auca Natives of eastern Ecuador. A year after her husbands death, she and the other widows tried again to reach the Auca. They succeeded and 50 years later the Auca largely worship Christ.
My favorite story she used to share is a biblical legend. It's not found anywhere in the scriptures, but its meaning is throughout the Gospels. The story is this:
Jesus was walking one day with His disciples and He asked each of them to pick up a stone and carry it for Him. They all picked up stones, some bigger, some smaller, Peter picked up the smallest stone possible and placed it in his pocket. They traveled for several hours arriving at the next town tired and hungry. Jesus immediately turned the stones into bread, and said "Eat Up". Of course Peter grew very frustrated knowing that his small stone was only now a munchkin. Jesus again asked His disciples, to pick up another stone and carry it for Him. Peter being a quick learner picked up a large boulder and placed it on his shoulder, and he, Jesus, and the disciples traveled to the next town. Again this time arriving at a river bank more tired and hungrier than before. Jesus calmly asked them to throw their stones into the river which they at once did in obedience to his command. They looked at Him, waiting expectantly for the stones to be turned into bread, only this time Jesus did nothing. When Peter and the disciples began to grumble Jesus said with great compassion, "For whom did you carry the stone for?"
Here's the meaning. The first time around the disciples carried the stones for Jesus, the second time they actually carried the stones for themselves. The point of the story is there are many times we seek to serve God but there's actually a hidden motive, mainly to serve ourselves. Why do we give money to the church, why do we help the little old lady across the street, why do we serve God, and even people in general? Is it to bless God, or do we do it to get God and people to bless us? There is nothing wrong with seeking God's blessings, unless it's the only reason why we're serving Him. He becomes nothing more than an ATM God. As it's been said, "Religious people obey God to get things, Gospel people obey God to get God."
This brings a special meaning to what Jesus said, "But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
The bible communicates to us, that if we seek God in thought, word, and deed, with pure heartfelt motives, surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives.