Saturday, October 2, 2010

Capstone or Cornerstone by Bobby Dionne

Week 40--October 3-9
Scripture Reading: Matthew 18-28; Mark 1-9; Psalm 138-141
Key passage for devotion: Matthew 21:42

According to my trusty NIV translation of the Bible, in Matthew 21:42, Jesus says “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.” Recently, however, while reading from a different translation I discovered that in this same verse Jesus says “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Is this subtle grammatical difference significant? Does it change what Jesus is trying to convey to you and me? Or am I just getting caught up in non-essentials? While I am no Bible scholar, I have gleaned just enough insight into the heart of God to learn that nothing is insignificant in his living Word. So as I wondered if I was spending too much time thinking about this subtle difference of word usage, I clearly heard the Holy Spirit lovingly say “dig deeper.”

Another thing I’ve learned through my study of the Bible (from a strictly literal perspective) is that words for the original manuscripts do not directly translate into English. So I started by looking up the definitions of Capstone and Cornerstone. A Capstone is a stone of a structure, or the crowning achievement, point, element, or event. A Cornerstone is a stone representing the nominal starting place in the construction of a monumental building, usually carved with the date and laid with appropriate ceremonies, or the chief foundation on which something is constructed or developed.

So from a purely architectural perspective, these translations seem to be in conflict. I mean something is either part of the foundation, or part of the roof structure, right? How can something or someone be both the start and the finish? Wait a second, it seems like I’ve heard something like this before! Didn’t God say He was the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last? So I realized that both words are significant in Christ’s definition of Himself. But how does it apply to where you and I live?

Going back to the architectural analogy, if a cornerstone is the starting place in the construction of a building, there is value in examining if Jesus truly is the starting place in the foundation of our lives. Do you remember the day or even the year that you laid Jesus as the cornerstone and surrendered your life to him? Each of us remember many important dates, like birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, etc. But many of my “Christian” friends and family can’t state the day that Jesus Christ became their cornerstone? I’m not trying to be legalistic, but I ask lovingly: if you don’t recall the date that of your spiritual birth, are you absolutely positive you have settled the lordship issue? It’s not about being raised in a Christian home or going to church.

I give God all the glory to be able to say that on February 14, 2000 Jesus became the cornerstone and starting place in the construction of his purpose and glory in my heart!

Once the issue of making Jesus our cornerstone is settled, then and only then can we begin to examine whether or not He is our capstone. Whenever I see the skyscrapers in downtown Charlotte, I am always drawn to the unique ways the builders and architects chose to top the buildings. Some have neat geometric shapes, colors, and many have incredible lighting that makes the tops of the buildings look incredible at night. Obviously, these buildings have a solid cornerstone and foundation or else they would have fallen down, and incredible capstones or finishing points. But what if one of those buildings had an incredible roof, but floors constructed of old rotten, crooked lumber and metal, with the windows shattered and paint peeling.

Since Jesus is the starting point and the finishing point, what about the stuff in the middle? You and I have been given an incredible privilege to participate in building God’s kingdom. To draw from our architectural analogy once more, if I have made Jesus my cornerstone, I don’t want the building (my life, choices, thoughts, actions, and intentions) to be poorly constructed. I don’t want my life to diminish the glory that belongs to Jesus Christ. He deserves better than that. I’m not suggesting that we can earn God’s favor and pleasure. Remember we settled that when we made Jesus the cornerstone. But I am saying He inspires me to build a life that is absolutely fitting when compared to its chief foundation and crowning achievement! To Jesus Christ, the stone the builders rejected, who has become the cornerstone and the capstone, be all of the glory! Amen.

Check out Bobby's outdoor adventure ministry Capstone Climbing and Adventure.

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