Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: RASH (04/12/18)
- TITLE: A Bag of Stones
By Trudy Newell
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I sat by the sea watching the sun set. I looked at my 12 stones of commitment. It didn’t amount to much for a lifetime of labor.
I remembered the heart to heart words of my brother Jim. “Melanie, do you have to serve the Lord overseas? If you like to travel and love languages, why not become an interpreter with the United Nations? Make something of your life. Don’t throw it away.”
Maybe Jim was right. Had the heartache, commitment and sacrifice been worth it? All I had left was a bag of stones.
Were the promises I had made worthless and foolish? I had been young, full of passion and compassion when I headed to the Middle East. My desire was to change the world for Christ. Now, 40 years later I was discouraged.
I had tried so hard. Was I stupid? Had I thrown my life away rashly, clinging to false hopes and dreams?
It would be so easy to toss the bag of stones on a rubbish heap. But I couldn’t do it.
When I made those promises, they came from the heart. I couldn’t turn back now, even if everything ended in defeat.
I loosened the strings of the threadbare bag and examined each stone.
I picked up the stone of salvation first. I rejoiced in the great salvation he gave me from sin. No way could I toss it away.
Then I examined the stone of commitment. How could I forget turning my life over to the Lord at camp many years before, promising to do whatever he asked. This stone was still a fire in my heart. I put it in the bag with the stone of salvation.
The third was the stone of trust.
“Yes,” I told the Lord, “I still trust you completely.”
With tears rolling down my cheeks I dropped the stone of trust in the bag. I could not do otherwise.
Along with trust came the fourth stone of obedience.
Trust and obey, yes, the two go together. I examined the stone. It was rough with no smooth edges. I nodded my head. Just like obedience. It can be hard and very costly.
Was I still willing to obey the Lord, no matter what? The answer was yes. I loved the Lord and would obey him. I put the stone of obedience in the bag.
The next stone I picked up, suffering, was hard, rough and ebony in color.
“Very appropriate for the stone of suffering.” I told myself. “Am I being stupid and rash to say, ‘yes, Lord, I’m willing to suffer for your sake?’
“My brother would call me a fool. My friends would make fun of me when things went wrong.”
The red glow of the setting sun shimmer on the water as I knelt.
“Yes, Lord, I don’t like it; I don’t want it; but I am willing to suffer for your sake.”
Without a sound I dropped the dark stone of suffering in the bag.
Not all the stones were hard and rugged.
I picked up the stone of promise. It glimmered with all the colors of the rainbow and was smooth and easy to handle.
God always keeps his promises. With a smile I realized this stone was not about my commitment to God, but his commitment to me.
This stone would go in the bag as a special treasure of receiving and believing the promises of His Word. This was no rash decision, for his Word is true.
All the remaining stones were precious - surrender, love, forgiveness, grace, purity and hope.
I filled the bag with them. No longer was I discouraged. I wouldn’t trade these stones for anything!
Then, the day came when I stood before the Lord, Himself. Right there at the throne of God. I was embarrassed by my threadbare bag and tried to hide it.
No one was more shocked than I when the Lord of Glory came and took the bag. He spread out a velvet cloth and emptied the contents of the bag on it.
My eyes almost popped out! There were not 12 stones, but 12 gems, including a diamond and ruby.
Before I could say a word, he took a golden crown and set the gems in place. I bowed as he gently lowered it on my head.
With my heart full of worship, I took the crown off my head and laid it at Jesus’s feet.
* An allegory
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