I want to tell you about something that I have at home. It’s something I call my Humility Rock. And for me, it’s a reminder of just how human I am, how I can easily rationalize or justify disobedience to God.
We went on vacation once, and I saw this gorgeous rock in the landscaping of this place. It wasn’t huge or anything; I could hold it in my hand. And it was obviously one of the multitudes of rocks that they brought in to make a border around their mini-golf course. But it was beautiful. And I wanted it.
I knew that if I took it, no one would miss it. But I also heard the Holy Spirit’s conviction: “It’s not yours.” And I struggled with this dilemma. But it’s just a rock. They don’t care about it. They’d laugh at me if I asked for it. No one will miss it.
Well, I wrestled with this, and I felt stupid for getting into a spiritual struggle over a rock. But I knew that it was about obedience and not “a rock.” But the longer I looked at it, the more it seemed to say, “No one cares about me. No one sees my beauty but you. You appreciate me.” (Humor me here.) And I took it. And I brushed aside any guilt that I felt with the idea that it didn’t matter to them anyway. It was, after all, just a rock.
Well, I got home and put it on my shelf. But every time I looked at it over the next few months, I felt guilty. It wasn’t “just a rock.” It was disobedience. It was knowing that God was calling me to be above reproach, that He was watching what I was doing and calling me to do the right thing. And I had rationalized my disobedience. I saw something, I desired it, and I took it. Not too far from the steps that David took with Bathsheba.
Anyway, the story doesn’t end there. I felt so guilty that when we went back a couple months later, I returned the rock to the mini-golf course. Back where it belongs.
But the story doesn’t end there. The next year, when we went back again, I saw it again. But it wasn’t quite where I left it. It had been rudely and roughly rolled down the hill. Cast aside like a worthless piece of garbage. Obviously, no one else cared about it. It would go down into the dirt and no one would ever be able to appreciate this beautiful specimen, this beautiful creation of God. And I took it. This time feeling fully justified that I was giving it a proper home.
And once again, the Holy Spirit began to gnaw away at me. “It wasn’t yours. If it was wrong the first time, it is wrong the second time. Wrong is wrong. And this sin is against God.”
Well, I knew that I had to right this wrong somehow. I had made a breach in my relationship with the Lord, and I couldn’t go on acting like all was well. But I wasn’t sure what to do about it. So I prayed about it and thought about it. This time, I didn’t feel like I could just secretly return it, acting as if I had done nothing wrong. I had already done that once. But since I was more bold and deliberate about taking it this time, I needed to be more bold and deliberate about doing the right thing this time.
And for me, as humiliating as it was, I knew that the best way to deal with it was to come clean, not only to God but to the park as well. And so I mailed them a five-dollar bill (hopefully, it was enough to cover that rock) and a letter confessing what I had done and that I was paying them for the rock that I took because I was making amends. (Yes, Park People, that was me. I’m sure you laughed when you received a five-dollar bill for a rock. But I had to do it, for my relationship with the Lord, my Christian witness, and because it was the right thing to do)
And that is the story behind my Humility Rock. And every time I look at it now, I don’t see just a pretty rock anymore. I am reminded of my humanness and my ability to be prideful and to rationalize sin. I am reminded that I fall far short of God’s righteous standards more times than I realize. I am convicted of the need to be deliberate about pursuing obedience and righteousness and about letting the Holy Spirit search my heart and my motives. And I am reminded that without God and His grace and mercy, I am hopelessly sunk.
And in a way, I can relate to this rock. And I am reminded of one more thing when I see it. I am reminded that even though I occasionally feel like a worthless, unimportant, overlooked “rock” sometimes, God loves me. He sees value and beauty and something worthwhile in me, just as I saw it in this rock. He cared enough about me (about all of us) to die for me so that I could have an eternal home with Him. Even if I’m just a plain-old, everyday, ordinary “rock”.