What you are is God’s gift to you; what you do with yourself is your gift to God – Danish Proverb
Ever wonder about your purpose in life? The impact you make? Do you ever feel like you could do more with your life or more for God if you could change some of your life’s circumstances. Honest moment: I’ve actually had this conversation with Him during prayer: “You know, I could bless the church and a lot of missionaries if the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstake van pulled into my driveway.” That’s often our complaint, isn’t it? I could make a bigger and better impact on others if only I had more. More money, more talent, more friends, more opportunities, more exposure for my blog…
I’m reminded of lesson I learned long ago while listening to one of the big impacts on my life, Adventures in Odyssey. I heard the story of the stone cutter.
He was a simple man, who lived his life on the mountainside, chiseling away at stone after stone, taking what he quarried into the village below. One day, on the way to the market he passed a wealthy merchants house. He marveled at the luxury of the house, the important visitors coming and going. He became envious and wished he could be like that merchant.
When he woke the next day, to his amazement, his wish had come true, he now lived in a luxurious house, he had wealth and power like he never dreamed. He was for once the one envied and even detested by those less wealthy than himself. Then one day a prince passed by, carried above the crowd in an ornate chair by his servants. Everyone, regardless of wealth had to bow as the prince passed by. Recognizing the prince had more power than him, he wished he could be as powerful as the prince.
And again, the next morning when he awoke, he found himself in a palace, and now he was the one carried about by servants. The envy was clear in the eyes of the people he passed by. He was feared and hated by all those who were forced to bow as he was carried by them. As the day wore on, the hot sun began to drain all his enjoyment out of the spectacle of the bowing masses. He became hot and uncomfortable, and was forced to admit that with all his power he was less than the sun. He made another wish.
The next morning, he rose across the eastern sky, shining brightly down across the land. His rays fell across rich and poor alike, all cursed his heat as their crops withered and died, made labor and travel unbearable, and burnt the skin of those who could not avoid his gaze. Suddenly, a black cloud moved in front of him, blocking the powerful heat from the scorched ground and those moving about. Confronted with yet another whose power overtook his own, he wished to become the cloud.
Heavy rains fell, washing away the burnt crops destroyed the day before. The road the princes travelled washed out. The market was flooded. Those below sought refuge from the deluge, with clinched fists they voiced their anger into the stormy sky. Then, a large gust blew him away from his drenched victims. He was at the mercy of the wind, buffeted to and fro by it’s billows. He made his wish.
Heavy wind damaged the princely palace, ripped the roof off the rich merchant’s home, and flattened the houses of laborers and the poor. Trees, gardens, and fences fell as he swept across the landscape. As he moved he heard the angry shouts and curses from those below him. Then suddenly he ran into something he could not move. A towering rock rose from the ground, his hollowing wind was ineffectual, no matter how he raged, the rock would not move. Once more forced to admit of a more powerful being, he wished to be the rock.
As the rock, he was now the most powerful of all, he thought. The sun could warm him, but not burn him. The rain couldn’t wash him away. The wind could blow across his face but not change him. But then he began to feel himself change, and parts of him falling away. He heard a noise, a familiar noise, the sound of a hammer striking a chisel, so he looked down.
And saw a stone cutter.
God, who is all knowing, who has a perfect plan, placed you in a specific place, with a specific role, for a specific purpose, for a specific time. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts I have toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not evil, to give you an expected end. We each have role and a purpose for the harvest.
We can’t all be millionaires and, honestly, would we really use that wealth to better the Kingdom? First a house, then the car, then a vacation (I deserve this Lord, I’ve worked so hard…) All the while, God has provided each of us the tools to make a difference in our own way (in His Will).
Galatians 6:4-5 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Some get a hammer and chisel, some a voice or instrument, others a pen or keyboard. We each have the ability to affect the lives of those around us, hopefully in Godly way.
So instead of pining about how more effective we would be if God just gave us the money, a different talent, or a larger platform, we should put our effort into doing what we can with what we already have. You may not be the biggest tither in your church but can you teach a Bible study? You may not be able to sing but can you open a door with a smile as a visitor steps into your church?
One additional thing I take from that story is that every new step in power the stone cutter made, he only made negative impacts on the lives of those he encountered. No matter what we are doing for God or just going about our day we need to make sure we leave a positive impression on those we come in contact with. It’s hard to tell others about the joy of the Lord with a sour expression on our face. Or of His goodness when we’re griping and complaining with the preceding breath.
If God has called you to be a stone cutter, strive to be the best stone cutter you can be. Do your work, do it joyfully, do it wisely and watch God give the increase. Like in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, I want to hear my Lord say “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”