Summary: What does it mean that Jesus is to be our cornerstone and foundation?
INVITATION to pick up pebbles … (in Heart Shaped glass dish)
Psalm 118:20-23 (NRSV)
20 This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
Matthew 7:24-27 (NRSV)
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”
I hope at least some of you who took the pebble last week had a moment or two when you contemplated Lent this week.
I actually looked up some rock jokes, thinking I could start out that way, but most of them were puns and plays on words that really didn’t work. I did find one, though, that was a keeper with St Patrick’s Day coming up.
What do you call an Irish Gem that is a fake? A Sham Rock.
Well, when Jesus was speaking to the people, he began speaking to them about sham rocks.
Our first Scripture today uses the word “cornerstone.” I looked up the definition of cornerstone and found this:
The cornerstone (or foundation stone or setting stone) is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation. All other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.
If we choose Jesus as our cornerstone, he aligns us with the truth that God has for us.
The opposite is true. If we choose something else in our lives as our cornerstone, than our perspective focuses in an entirely different direction.
So, we need to be careful to avoid sham rocks, and build on the cornerstone that Christ has given us.
What are some sham rocks we find in our lives?
The first one that we might think about is money. Now, money is important, it is just that it isn’t the cornerstone on which we should build. If we build our lives around the making of money, we might have a huge palace, but an empty heart. By the way, remember the expression “Money is the root of all evil?” It is totally misquoted. Hear the words of Paul in his letter to Timothy:
“But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.“ 1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NRSV)
Did you hear the difference? It is not money that is the root of evil, it is the LOVE OF MONEY. If we put the eagerness to be rich as our cornerstone, it is the wrong cornerstone.
He goes on to tell us about the foundation that works:
As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NRSV)
Another cornerstone I hear to often nowadays is Self-Righteousness. It is good to follow God’s laws, but when we decide that because we are following God that we have righteousness on our own behalf, two things happen.
First, we become critical of anyone who does not meet our standards. We become the Pharisees who accused Jesus of eating with sinners and tax collectors. We become an exclusive club for the best of the best, not what Jesus intended us, as fishers of men, seeking the lost.
Second, we show that we are foolish by forgetting that we are sinners. Even the most righteous among us can’t make it on our own. The Bible is clear, all of us have fallen short of the Glory of God. When we think that the laws of Jesus don't apply to us, then we will surely fail by trying to stand on our own.