The image below may look like just a pile of rocks to you. But, to me, it represents a bowlful of treasured memories created with my dad.
Hiking in the woods, fishing in the river, a vacation spot…these were all places where we would pick up a rock or two and add it to our collection. We’d then make a plan, purchase the materials and load up our rock polisher to turn these stones into shiny jewels.
So special was this pile of rocks to me that I would invite visitors to our home to go through the rocks with me. My elementary-school-aged little hand would pull them out one by one, rehashing where I was when I found it…And if you notice right here…doesn’t that spot look like a stag’s head?..This looks like a rock, but it is actually petrified wood…cool, huh?!
With an attentive face and lots of wows and mmmhhhmms, they would enter into the fascination with me. But I can only imagine what everyone was actually thinking, “Why am I looking through, and trying to be excited about, a pile of rocks?”
To me they were fond memories and great discoveries. To others, they were just a pile of rocks.
In Genesis 12, God called Abram and told him, “Go from your country….I will make you into a great nation…” When Abram arrived at Shechem, he built an altar to the Lord. Just a pile of rocks to some, but for Abram, it was an expression of praise to and remembrance of the Lord Who had appeared to him.
Abram then made his way to between Bethel and Ai, and, again, he built an altar and called upon God. A pile of rocks? Oh, so much more.
In Genesis 13, Abram had just given Lot his choice of land. Then Abram heard from God again, ““Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.” Abram’s response? Another pile of rocks made into an altar so he could worship God.
In Genesis 22 we find the most disturbing of altars. Abram, now Abraham, has been instructed to sacrifice his own son, Isaac. This pile of rocks would hold wood and, evidently, his son. As we know, this is a story of Abraham’s heart and of God’s provision. But certainly, at the time, Abraham’s faith was tested to the core.
Each of these altars, these piles of rocks, were symbols of Abraham’s worship of God along his journey.
In your own life, what memories and conversations with God are you collecting? How are you rehearsing your life stories, keeping them fresh? How are you pausing to give thanks and to worship?
To some, these memories may seem like just a “pile of rocks.” But these moments with God were real and meaningful. And you get to treasure them forever.
So, just like my dad and I, I encourage you to keep collecting your rocks (your with God stories). Polish them up, keep them nearby and share them with others.