I did some manual labor today that gave me some interesting insight into a metaphorical activity I’m sometimes prone to perform — casting stones.
It started with a pile of rocks. They were in the wrong place in my yard, and I’m trying to get things looking better for the upcoming sale of my house. It’s not a job you ask friends to do, so while my son was busy in the shop, and I waited on friends to come pick up some household items, I started tackling the pile.
Here’s what I learned:
- Wearing gloves is necessary in picking up stones, because they are rough and can have bugs and spiders hiding underneath. Thus the metaphorical stone casting is not for the soft, finely-manicured type. When you pick up stones, you’re getting dirty. Without protection, something might just leave a mark.
- It doesn’t matter what kind of stone you throw — they all hurt. Just because you say something mean with pretty words doesn’t change the effect. Dressing up or polishing a stone won’t matter.
- No matter how you aim a stone, it lands somewhere else. You may not realize it, but stones bounce. That’s probably based on the type of land you’re aiming at. Softer dirt may cause them to land with a thud, but the harder the surface, the more they skip and jump.
- Because you can’t judge the exact spot of landing, you can expect other things to get hit. Sometimes they even end up landing on other stones you’ve already thrown.
- Throwing stones takes no skill or has any age requirement. Anybody at any age can hurt someone with their words or deeds.
- The more stones you throw the sweatier you become. By the time I finished the job, I was dripping with sweat! Same thing happens with the metaphorical stones.
- You never know when a snake is going to jump out and bite you!
OK, I’m going to pause there for a moment, because I have to say — I did not get bit! But there was a snake, and let me tell you, when I turned over a big rock and saw it, I about jumped out of my skin. I screamed and ran into the shop and “calmly” told David there was a snake. He grabbed this hilarious weapon he and his brother had made centuries ago that was actually a baseball bat with a circular saw blade stuck in it (think horror show) and headed out to tackle my snake.
Of course it had disappeared, but I was much more cautious after that. I still can’t believe I kept going with my task, but I was on a roll.
Now, back to my points…almost done.
- Sometimes, we don’t learn our lessons about throwing stones, even when almost bit by a snake. We just keep doing it.
- Even when you think you can’t throw any more stones, the dirt underneath you seems scattered with smaller rocks.
- When throwing one stone at a time won’t do, you can always take a shovel and throw piles of rock and dirt, just to finish the task. They’re just as messy and painful as the big ones in the end.
- After you’re done with casting stones, you don’t really feel great about the job you did.
Jesus said it best: The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.*
Grace and Peace
John 8:7 (The Message)