Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Charade (08/14/08)
TITLE: Not One Stone
By Clyde Blakely
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“Jesus, look at all these magnificent buildings. They are beautiful. See how they shine!” One of His disciples said as they were leaving the temple.
“I tell you the truth, not one of these stones will be left on another but they will all be thrown down.” (Matthew 24:1-2, paraphrase)
The disciples were shocked. The Jerusalem temple was the most aggressive, grandiose building project of Herod the Great. He had many shrines and temples built to different pagan gods but this was his greatest. With white marble walls and a gold roof it would reflect sun and moonlight for many miles. It could easily be seen from the little town of Bethlehem. “Not one stone” would be left on another? Unbelievable! The disciples had followed Jesus for several years so their question “When will the end be?” was not out of the ordinary.
Jesus gave a lengthy response, one which they did not understand at the time. Terrible things would happen before His return, the destruction of the temple being only one. For many, this was fulfilled in their lifetime when, in 70 AD, the temple was burned melting the gold roof and every stone was turned over to retrieve the gold.
Jesus’ response emphasized His coming return and not to put lasting importance on the things of this world. Wealth, wars, politics, family, even religion, are important but these will pass away. They are all used by the world, by satan, to mask things of eternal value.
Too often life circumstances take our mind off God and His plan for our lives, but only for awhile if we seek Him. This was brought home to me the day after Christmas in 1989. Our house burned down. We just got out with our lives, with only what we had on. Not sure if our youngest was safely out, my wife and I were reentering the fire to find him. He safely escaped. We were all alive! We lost everything we had but each other.
God taught me many lessons during and after the fire. I’ve used the house fire as a witnessing tool since, “God took everything from me once and I will leave everything behind when I die. People will not remember me for how much money I made, any titles, or how big a house I built. They’ll remember me for how I treated my fellow man.”
I was driving to work one day, not really thinking of anything in particular. I remember the exact location on the freeway when God spoke, “I took everything from you once and you will leave everything behind when you die but will you give it to Me now?” That’s a question I have to ask myself frequently. I must put life in perspective, not allowing the distractions, satan’s charade of what’s important, to take my eyes off the goal of running the race that has been set before me. As Jesus told His disciples, all the stones of this life will be removed, not one will be left on top of another. Only the Rock, Jesus, God Himself, can not be moved. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, NIV)
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