The Stones We Carry

by Jake Espy

A few years ago I heard a story about a prison.

In this prison, there is only one activity the inmates participate in every day. Promptly at sunrise, the inmates line up on one end of a field where they find a huge pile of rocks. The task they are expected to accomplish every day is to move all of the rocks from one side of the field to the other. Once all the rocks are moved across the field, their work for the day is done. The next day, the same thing is expected but in reverse. Move the rocks from one side of the field back to the other. On and on. Every day. Without end.

It turns out that no matter how tough the person is, this punishment is well known to be one of the quickest ways to break a man’s spirit. The reason why comes down to one word: Purpose. Or more accurately in this case; lack of purpose. You see, once the realization sets in that they are stuck doing a meaningless task with no purpose, very few inmates have the ability to maintain their composure. They break.

When was the last time you gave thought to how important purpose is to your soul? What if I told you that next to a love and a desire for intimacy with Jesus, purpose is perhaps one of the most powerful things our soul longs for? And if that’s true, it should come as no surprise that it’s also one of the most powerful ways Satan tries to attack us.

The thing I’ve come to realize is that if Satan can’t get you to stop doing good (especially in the Name of Jesus), the very next arrow in his quiver is to try to make you believe that the good you’re doing is insignificant. That it has no purpose. That it isn’t noticed. Because like those inmates, nothing breaks us down quicker than believing we are chasing something without purpose. And nothing would make the enemy happier than if we believe we are insignificant.

The attack comes in many forms, but generally it manifests itself as a lie whispered in our ear that sounds something like this: "Nobody notices me. Nobody sees the hard work I’m doing. Why do I even bother? Nobody cares about this anyway. What I’m doing will never measure up."

On and on it goes. And if you’re feeling that way… or you find that you’ve believed one of those statements, my question is:  Who told you that? Because I guarantee you it didn’t come from God.

If we’re not careful, we believe we’re not good enough, that we’re unnoticed, and that we “should leave that up to better people”… We end up carrying these lies like stones back and forth across a field for years. We enslave ourselves in our own prisons by believing those thoughts, and we spend so much energy moving rocks that we have very little energy to put toward fruitful things.

So if you haven’t heard it in a while, let me end by reminding you of this truth: You are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God, and even before God formed you in the womb He knew you and loved you. And because of that, you DO matter. You ARE significant. And you DO have purpose. Let’s stop carrying those stones back and forth. God created us for so much more.