July 18, 2018 • Life for Leaders
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Do you ever get overwhelmed by the choices available to you? I do. I expect you do too. When I was growing up, our black and white Motorola television set could receive about six clear channels. Now? You can have literally hundreds of channels streaming into your home. More significantly, today we have more choices about our lifestyles, our careers, our locations, our relationships than people had for centuries. Even if it seems like your choices are limited, you almost surely have more options than someone who lived a hundred years ago, or even fifty years ago.
Yes, having such a wide array of choices can be a blessing. But it can also be a curse. We can feel inundated by our options, unsure of which direction to go in our lives. Some people are so overwhelmed that they cannot even move forward at all. Others make choices that they soon regret.
As Christians, we have access to a supernatural guidance system, if you will. God guides us in a wide variety of ways. The Bible teaches us. The Holy Spirit leads us. The community of God’s people discerns with us. Moreover, Jesus Christ can be the cornerstone of our lives, that which orients and supports everything we do.
A literal cornerstone is the first piece of a building that is put into place. Yes, the cornerstone helps bear some of the weight of the edifice. But, more importantly, it determines the precise location and orientation of the building. Thus, in a sense, the cornerstone not only provides guidance, but also it limits the options of the builder. It says, “Build here, but not over there.”
In Ephesians 2:19-22, Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the “building” of his people, who constitute “a holy temple in the Lord.” Inspired by this image, I would suggest that Jesus should also be the cornerstone of our individual lives, the lives we build through a lifetime of work.
If Jesus Christ is your cornerstone, then many of the choices that can confuse your life are removed from the range of possibilities. You will not, for example, have to spend much time worrying about whether or not to get revenge on a colleague. You won’t have to consider whether it might be good to have an affair with a friend’s wife. You won’t have to choose a life of conspicuous consumption in order to convince yourself that you matter. You won’t feel entitled to look down on people who are different from you. I’m not suggesting that having Christ as your cornerstone makes everything easy. Sometimes, actually, it feels like living in his way is harder. Plus, you will still face plenty of difficult choices in life. But building your life upon Jesus and orienting your life in the direction of his kingdom allows you to live with greater freedom, confidence, and significance.
Something to Think About:
Would you say that Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of your life? If so, what difference does Jesus actually make in the way you build your life?
What other “cornerstones” compete with Jesus for that role?
Something to Do:
Take some time to reflect on your life as if you were building a building. What is the foundation of the building of your life? How are you building? Are you building alone or do you have others working with you? What does your building look like? What is its purpose? Where does it need shoring up? Are there parts of your building that should be dismantled so you can build something better in their place? What role does Jesus play in your building project? Are you proud of your building?
Lord Jesus, thank you for being the cornerstone of the church. Thank you for anchoring your people, for guiding and supporting us. Help me, I pray, to make you the cornerstone of my life. May I continually rely on you for direction and support. May I give you pride of place among all the values and commitments of my life, so that you might put all the pieces of my life in good order. Amen.
Explore more at The High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project:
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.