Recently I heard the true story of two brothers whose career choice led them on two very different paths.  The first became a school teacher and the second a bricklayer.  The first told the second that he envied him because he could look at his finished product and see the results of his hard labor.  Whereas the teacher most often would have to guess whether his efforts produced good citizens.  The bricklayer could look every day at his accomplishment or return decades later and find each brick right where he put it.  The teacher might read about a former student’s contribution to society and hope that it was in part due to the early information and principles the teacher has striven to impart.

Each brick in a wall helps support the ones next to it and also receives support from them—sort of masonry symbiosis.  However, they all must depend upon a solid foundation to stay strong.   The Bible uses the word stones instead of bricks with Jesus being the capstone (cornerstone) (Acts 4:10-11) (Ps 118:22) as well as the foundation (1 Cor 3:11) of His church (Mt 16:18).  The inspired writer Paul says that the, “…church of God (is) the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15).  He also calls it the, “…solid foundation (which) stands firm…” (2 Tim 2:19).

Perhaps you have never thought of yourself as a brick or stone, but if you have been immersed into Christ (Rom 6:3-6), you are called just that.  Peter says, “…you also like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices (Eph 5:2) (Php 4:18) acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Pe 2:5).  Like the bricks, we are to support and strengthen each other (1 Th 5:11) (1 Cor 14:3).

There are several ways “the living stones” can support and strengthen others.  Like a secular teacher, Christians are able to pass on (spiritually) knowledge to the next generation (2 Tim 2:2).  They can encourage through songs (Eph 5:19) and prayer (Jas 5:13).  They may be able to,    “…turn a sinner from the error of his way (and) will save him from death…” (Jas 5:20)  The prophets in the Old Testament searched intently to try and discover what their preaching would accomplish, not realizing the, “glories that would follow.” (1 Pe 1:10-12).  Christians, like secular teachers, may not see the results of their efforts, but can rest assured that God will use them for good (Rom 8:28) (Eph 2:10).

–Jim Bailey