When a Stone is Better than Bread

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” (Matthew 7:9).

In His Sermon on the Mount, the child in Jesus’ example asked his father for bread, which is something that is right, good and necessary. And we would expect a loving father to give what is right, good and necessary to his child. But I have a very important question to ask you right now: “When is getting a stone better than getting bread?” The answer of course is – when it is our Savior who is giving us the stone. Why? Because it is our gracious and loving Savior who knows exactly what we need . . . and when we need it . . . and our life experiences have proven this to be true. When our Lord Jesus Christ chooses to give to us a stone, it is far better than bread.

In looking back over my life, I cannot count the times when I was asking God for what I thought was “bread” and instead, He gave to me what I thought was a “stone.” Why? Because what I was asking for was really a “stone” and what God gave to me was really “bread.” Every parent knows this truth as it relates to our children. Often the kids would ask for “stuff” that looked like bread to them but was really nothing more than stones. And their perception of what we gave to them seemed like a “stone” when in actuality it was better than bread. To be sure, parents know better than the child what the child needs, just like God knows better what His children need.

 

Maturity

Often it comes down to our level of spiritual maturity. The less mature we are spiritually, the more often we ask for things that are truly not in our best interest. Oh, we think it would be best, and we are convinced we absolutely need it, so we plead our case before heaven’s throne. But more often than not, our petitions come under the heading of something we want, not something we need, and if we were to get it, we would remain in our spiritual immaturity, sipping on milk rather than eating meat.

God’s greatest goal for each one of us on this side of the grave is to conform us to the image of His beloved Son.

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).

This often requires that God gives to us a stone rather than bread. The “stones” of life that God delivers to us shape, sharpen and strengthen us to grow up into Christ and mature in our faith. These “stones” may not deliver us over to our perception of the good life, but they will pave the way that leads to living the godly life . . . and that is the only life worth living. That is the life that brings to us the purpose, meaning and significance we are all seeking to live a life that truly matters.

 

Stones

So, when was the last time God gave to you a stone rather than bread? Maybe it was a promotion at the office you were seeking, but God kept you right where you were in your current position. Perhaps it was a relationship you were desperately seeking, but God kept the door of opportunity closed. Could it have been the hope of a clean bill of health, but instead God sent you a storm you had never expected. Can you see His reason for doing so? The only way to see the stones of life better than bread is to see life from God’s perspective and live in the light of eternity. The key to unlocking the door to understanding this truth is in seeing our God as a loving father who knows what is best for us.

God is good – all the time. Keeping that truth in view will help us receive whatever it is God has decided to deliver to us, knowing that He is using all things ultimately for our good, and that includes every stone He sends our way. So, when is a stone better than bread? When your Savior has handed it to you with His nail-scarred hands.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. Never forget that… Amen!

 

Tommy Boland is senior pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach. He blogs regularly at tommyboland.com.

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