4-29-2018 Becoming a Lasting Wall


APRIL 29, 2018


My Grandpa Surbrook was an avid stone mason by hobby. Don’t misinterpreted my descriptive use of “hobby”, he was an expert stone mason. I was reminded of that last summer as I drove my mother around to some spots with historical significance to us. Grandpa and Grandma Surbrook moved to Batteese Lake off Route 106 north of Jackson near the village of Munith when I was still a single digit youngster. It was on that Lake that I discovered my love relationship with fishing.


It was there that they built a beautiful hill top reddish-brown brick home on a vacant lakefront lot that sloped down to the water while overlooking the lake. In fact, the slope was steep enough that Grandpa decided to terrace it off with field stone retaining walls in several steps. I remember the first wall was about 20 feet off the face of the porch and the last was along the entire lake front. Both were several hundred feet in length and averaged about 6 feet in height. I never counted the stones but, there were thousands and I handled a big portion of them (smashed finger nails, blisters and all).


I vividly remember to this day the process of selecting the stones for the wall. Connie’s Uncle Arthur owned a farm on Perrine Road, where I grew up, and the outside perimeter of each field was piled high with field stone from years of picking them out of the field. Several times a week Grandpa and I would make a trip to one of those fields and spend, what seemed to be hours, selecting just the right stones. Understand they had to be the right size to blend in with those already placed in the wall, they had to be the right color and most importantly, they needed to be the right shape. Grandpa had a knack for finding just the right stone, the patience to reject stones that didn’t meet his strict standards and the eye of a painter visualizing the final scene with all its grand and glorious details on a blank canvas.


To describe the sorrow I felt that day, as my mother and looked at what used to be stone walls at my Grandparents old home, is far too difficult to put in print. Stone that had been placed with passion had now collapsed. Many were now on top of the other in piles… others were missing, I assume thrown into the lake and sunk from sight in the mud… and still other areas bore signs that someone without a vision of that final scene had haphazardly attempted a repair. It was sad to see stones, placed in passion, fallen into disrepair. It was as if love had been lost.


The same thing can happen to a church if those who are called “today” fail at spending the needed time teaching and training, hand to hand, those who will take our place. Let me share a secret with you… none of us is going to be here forever in our present form. Someday, all of us reading this will be a memory. Our time will be past and because of that, God is clear that we have a responsibility today to invest in those who will follow. We need to help the new stones to be set secure enough to become lasting stones in a “wall for the Lord.”


Titus 2:2-8 (NASB)
2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.
3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,
4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible;
7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified,
8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.


If each young person God brings us here to Lakeside represents a single stone within His wall, will we have responded sufficiently to God’s calling for them to collectively stand the test of time? Will they be tomorrow what God has called us to be today? Or will they, for lack of patience, care, and vision crumble and fall into disrepair?


Psalm 102:18 (NASB)
18 This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.

Thank you for your faithfulness. Pastor Larry