Stone of stumbling

It was no surprise to me to hear the nickname our son’s friends gave him — “Pyro.” From an early age, he was fascinated by fire.

His passion for fire has now matured into expert welding skills and the ability to make the best smoked pork shoulder on the planet. He must have gotten his firebug trait from his Dad, my own dear Yard Boy, who will take any opportunity to burn things in the yard.

To that end, we had planned on building a real firepit to replace what he calls one of those “toy firepits” that are so common. It is true, my passion for gardening does generate a lot of fuel for fires.

We had chosen a really nice spot for said firepit, and a generous pavement to surround it.

While we were saving up money to do this project with concrete paver molds, a developer started blasting away at a hillside nearby. We were no stranger to scrounging rocks as free landscaping material, but these rocks were actually nice and FLAT, a good characteristic for pavers!

After a tiny bit of wheedling, I managed to have him help me choose and transport a ton of rocks for the desired project. Well, maybe four or five tons. but we did it little by little on evenings and weekends.

Now, choosing these rocks was challenging. Some were uneven, meaning they would have to be set into the paver base a little crooked on the underside. Some were bumpy, and we had to decide if that would be dangerous to walk on. Some were curved just right and tall enough to stack for the firepit itself. We rejected many more; being too thin, too thick, or too uneven.

The Yard Boy did all the heavy lifting, and I supervised the arranging of the various shapes into a very large oval shaped pavement. He then stacked a smaller oval for the pit.

Perfection! Well, almost. This was not going to be like the expensive flagstones, so there are a few places that you could trip if you’re not careful. It brings to mind how God uses us as imperfect stones to make something beautiful and useful.

But there is still the danger of stumbling. Why? It’s not the stones, really.

“And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture:
‘Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.’
This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,
‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the very corner stone,’
and, ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense;’
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed” (1 Peter 2:4 – 8, NASB).

Note that a stone can be “choice” and “precious,” but can still be a stone of stumbling.

If we are stumbling it is because of US, not because of the stone. We can’t blame God for our lack of good footing.

We were careful in choosing the stones, and some were rejected even after they were brought to the site. I am glad God does the choosing when he builds a spiritual house! I am glad he chose ME!

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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