Sometimes, most humbly, I find myself heading down the road of wondering, hoping that I am going to get something out of all the pain, the brokenness, the sacrifice, the service. I keep on saying, “Your will be done, Lord,” and trusting Him for the outcome – but sometimes, unbearably selfishly, I wonder if and what I’ll get out of it in the end. Surely, there must be something that I will see or experience as a “reward” for my faith and perseverance! I am not proud of this thinking – my desire is not to be so selfish. Maybe you struggle, too.
Then, this week , this story came back to me that I recall Elisabeth Elliot sharing. It is an African legend about Jesus. It is not in the bible – it is only a legend, but it relays a strong, visual message. And so, I paraphrase …
Once upon a time, Jesus was walking along the road with His disciples and He asked them to pick up a stone to carry for Him. They all picked up a stone – one man a rather small one, another a large one. After some distance, and climbing to the top of a mountain, Jesus commanded that the stones be turned to bread. The man with the large stone had a lot of bread to eat and was satisfied. The man with the small stone had little.
Later, Jesus asked the disciples to again pick up a stone and carry it for Him. This time the disciple who had picked up the small stone the first time, thought he was wise. He picked up a large stone. They walked for a long ways and came to a river bank. Jesus asked them to throw the stones in to the river, which they did at once, obeying Him. They looked at Him, expecting something to happen.
Nothing happened. There was no bread – no reward. The disciples were disappointed and confused. Jesus looked at them with love and said, “For whom did you carry the stone?”
I love this story – and time and time again I have heard the gentle voice of God whisper in my ears this week, “For whom are you carrying this burden, Andrea? I have asked you to carry it, carry it for me, not for what you will see.”
It is humbling, isn’t it? God wants our whole-hearted devotion. He is working all things out; we may not see the result that it may be for the benefit of others and most importantly, for His glory. Sometimes, our motivation gets mixed up and we begin to lose a view of Him. Dear reader, perhaps this is a timely reminder for you as well. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind and soul and follow Him, not for what you will see or receive but out of a heart that loves Him deeply.