Skip to main content

Stones of Honor

That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home. (Ephesians 2:19)

You belong here - those are words many of us are longing to hear, aren't they? We go through life wandering from this to that, trying out one thing or another, all in hopes of finding where we 'fit'. God is building a home - not with bricks and mortar - but will lives. Your life and mine all fit together in perfect union - a holy temple in which his glory dwells and is displayed for all the world to see. I really want to spend some time this morning considering just a portion of this passage: He's using us all - irrespective of how we got here. Irrespective - don't miss that word because I honestly think there are some who feel they don't 'belong' because their pasts are filled with all manner of sinful choices. If God could use Zaccheus - a Roman tax collector - in fact, the Chief Tax Collector in Jericho - then could God possibly use us? 

What makes a tax collector all that important to consider this morning? A tax collector in those times was considered to be a very greedy profession - because they not only collected what was owed to the Roman government, but a percentage on top of it that they took as their own income. This made them very wealthy men, but very much despised by the populous. They were kind of like the mafia back in the day - if you didn't pay up, you could be punished severely until you paid in full - both the tax and the collector's percentage. They would take as much as they wanted - there was no limit to their demands. The greedier they were, the more they were despised. Since there were no laws to govern how they did their job, they had 'carte blanch' to do as they pleased to get whatever they wanted. 

If Jesus would take time to talk with such a sinner, much less dine with him, and then extend to him the grace to forgive him his many indiscretions, what makes us think he wouldn't do the same for us? Irrespective means there is nothing in our past or present that excludes us from his grace. Where his grace is given, lives are transformed. Transformed lives make great building blocks in his kingdom, don't they? Was my 'transformation' as dramatic as yours? Who cares! If a life has been touched by grace - let that life give glory to God! If that life has been renewed under his power - let that life shine forth! Stop discounting your life as 'not useful', or 'too worthless' to be of use in his kingdom. Irrespective of who you are, what you have done, who you have been - he turns you into 'stones' of honor! Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,