Note: I talked about this subject at the end of last week’s Sunday School lesson, but felt like I did a poor job of explaining it. So, I thought I would just reprint my notes from that trip, hoping that in print it would make more sense. This was a powerful thought to me and I wanted to pass it on to you. Thanks, Bob
On about day three of our trip, our Rabbi picked up a white stone and a black stone, without explanation and put them in his pocket. Word spread back through the talmidim and everyone quickly picked up two stones and put them in their pocket, also. No explanation or information was given until our devotion on the morning of the 6th day.
The old rabbi, said RVL, always carried a small white stone and a small black stone with him in his pocket to remind him of some very important God principles. We live between these two stones.
The white stone represents God and the unbelievable fact that He made us in his image and blessed us by making us a little lower than the angels and giving us dominion over all the work of his hands (See Genesis 1:26 – 28 and Psalm 8:1 – 9). The God of the universe made us and is with us! The white stone symbolizes that it is all God, certainly nothing that we did or could lay claim to. We are inadequate and of little value by ourselves and add very little, if any to the mix.
The black stone represents humanity and the idea that since he made us to rule over creation, he has given us work to do. We are responsible to keep his commandments and to serve him only. However, because we’ve been given such rich gifts and such responsibility, we sometimes have a tendency to have pride and to think that we are something in and of ourselves. If we are not careful, we will be deceived into thinking it is by our strength and our power that we have done things (Deut 8).
Somehow, God wants us to live between the two stones. On the one hand, it’s all God, he did it all, nothing that we can add to what he’s done and we’re nothing without him. On the other hand, he has asked us to be in the world and make decisions and be over and have dominion over the affairs of this world.
We have to live between the two stones, realizing that it’s all God, but knowing that he expects us to do our part. There’s tension between the two stones constantly, but that’s where we live. I am keeping the two stones in my pocket to remind me I am nothing without God, but he expects me to enter the chaos of this life and be his witness and do his work and will. The white stone keeps me humble and makes me realize that I am nothing special, just chosen by God. The black stone keeps me working hard to make sure I do my part and not to be proud of what I’ve done. On the one hand, it’s all God, dependent daily on his grace and strength, but on the other, God wants my participation. He wants me to do everything I can and he expects me to give it all I have.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
— 1 Corinthians 9:24
About the author:
Bob is the creator of this site and a disciple of Ray Vander Laan. Along with his wife of 50 years, he teaches a Bible study at Christ’s Church in Roswell, NM. He is also an avid hunter and fisher.