I live in the land of monuments. Here in the Washington D.C. area there are monuments everywhere you look. Monuments and memorials stand out in their urban settings. Their failure to blend in with their surroundings is intentional. The hope is that the tall white pointy structure, numerous statues, name covered wall, and cavernous columned buildings will cause people to stop and ask, “What is that and what does it mean?” To which all questioning generations will be told the story of our history.
Monuments are not new to societies. One such monument is mentioned in Joshua. The Israelites needed to cross the Jordon River. When the priests, carrying the Ark of the Covenant, stepped off the river bank, God held back the water so all of Israel could pass. He then instructed a representative from each of the twelve tribes to get one large stone from the river bed. They were to pile them up beside the place they had crossed. (This shall be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, “What mean ye by these stones?” tell them how God cut the waters of the river Jordon….Joshua 4:6) No doubt a pile of large stones, polished smooth form being at the bottom of the river, now sitting randomly on the river’s edge, would solicit curiosity and questions.
Many years ago, when I was teaching high school students Bible, I had the brilliant idea to use this Scripture as a key decorating tactic. You see, I was a lazy teacher. I especially did not enjoy decorating my class room or bulletin boards. This particular year I had a rather large empty wall waiting to be filled with educational/inspirations wall décor. I thought I was pretty clever when I decided to cut out 12 huge brown paper stones and place them in a pyramid shaped pile on my wall. I then posted the “What mean ye by these stones?” portion of the verse above it. I thought to myself, “the wall is covered and I have a cool teaching tool!” I would not tell my students where the rest of the verse was and challenge them to figure out what it all meant. Some of you may already picture where this went horribly wrong. I’ll pause here and let you look back and consider the description of my chosen wall décor…….Yep, my “stones” apparently looked more like a pile of poop. Needless to say my students, and fellow faculty members, got a good laugh. My pile of stones became a must see for people visiting the school. While that was not quite the effect I was going for, it did still serve its original purposes; fill my blank wall space and get my students to ask about them.
Oswald Chambers once wrote, “We are not here to prove God answers prayers, we are here to be living monuments of God’s grace.” Suddenly I desire to be like the pile of paper poop, Joshua’s river stones and the many monuments in our nation’s capital. I want my life to be different than my surroundings and cause others to ask “what is it, what does it mean?” To which future generations will be told the story of His glory?
In His grace we walk each day
and leave for others along the way
a pattern sure to see them through
just follow God in all you do
when you faulter and fall on your face
just get back up and walk in His grace