Later, it occurred to me, in God’s sight we are stones and pebbles, not outwardly attractive or appealing. However, beneath the outward appearance, our all seeing God beholds our uniqueness, our beauty and our latent power to honour Him. Our Lord went to a lot of time and effort to ‘collect us’ from the quarries of this world Galatians 1:4. 1 John 5:19). It cost Him a pierced side, nailed hands, feet and dagger like thorns biting into His brow. The owners of the ‘quarry’ must have thought Jesus mad to pay such a price for such common, rather grubby and rugged stones. Especially when those stones ultimately cost Jesus His life to secure them. How the world and the Devil with his demons must have laughed.
Their smile was wiped from their faces when Christ Jesus rose from the furnace of sin’s judgement and the icy cold grip of death. Then, He began collecting His stones, pebbles and rocks, that is, you and me! The ‘quarry owners’ tried to stop Jesus, through His servants, preaching the Gospel of grace to the ‘quarries and salvaging their rubble.’ When you and I were collected by Christ through such servants I wonder how many who enjoyed the ‘quarry’ questioned the Lord’s wisdom.
I’ve had the privilege over fifty years of ministry seeing the delightful things God does with those He reclaims. He is the God who loves lapidary. As Ephesians 2:10 says, we are His workmanship. This means He takes you and me as encrusted stones and through the moral and spiritual equivalents, cuts, polishes and engraves our lives. The purpose is to release the treasure He saw within so that it will glorify Him and bless us eternally. The word best used to describe such a process is discipline. ‘Discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.’ (Hebrews 12:11
We often use the term ‘he’s a rough diamond God is polishing’ as though we are all such a gem. We are not all diamonds. We are all gems of some type or other, each with our own unique pattern, texture, beauty. I visited a mining museum at Zeehan in Tasmania and stood astounded at their rock collection. There, before my eyes, were ordinary stones with the most amazing patterns and colours. Lights were strategically placed so as to draw out what would otherwise never be seen.
Christ Jesus, expresses His role of lapidary in our lives, so that others might see His treasure unlocked. He is the Light of our life and as He cuts and polishes (sanctifies and ministers to us by His word and Spirit) we become His stone of glory. Paul writing to Titus used the term ‘ornament to the doctrine of God our Saviour.’ We become, or should become, men and women who attract people to what the Lord has done in and revealed though us. This isn’t for us to boast but to testify to the redeeming, liberating wonder of Christ’s power in redeeming us. It is imperative for us to ensure that His light within isn’t dimmed by self – obsession, disobedience or switched off by Satan’s cunning.
What about the engraving feature of lapidary? In the Old Testament the High Priest wore a breastplate with 12 precious stones. On each one was a name of one of the twelve tribes. He always bore them on his heart when he approached God. When our Lord claimed us for His own treasure He also became our High Priest. By implication we are also borne into the presence of the Father on the heart of our Lord.
May we be encouraged through the Scriptures to handle the rough and tumble of life with a positive outlook! For God isn’t mindless in His treatment of us. He is endeavouring to reveal His glory in you and me. He is using you and me to attract people to the power of the cross. He is drawing out of us the hidden beauty when the Light of Jesus Christ glows though us. Therefore, from a grateful heart let us, as God’s collection of ‘stones and pebbles’, praise Him for His spiritual and moral lapidary in polishing our lives!
Copyright. Ray Hawkins February 23rd 2015.