God’s Tumbler: Let’s be Polished Together

Let’s be Polished Together in 2013

My childhood friend, Kevin, was always filling his pockets with stones. Back in his room, he placed these stones, some water, and a dash of “mystery ingredient” into a contraption on his dresser. Almost four decades later, I can still hear the rock tumbler’s slurry swoosh.

If you are a follower of Jesus, you are a “living stone”

Did you know that Calvary is God’s tumbler? If you are a follower of Jesus, you are a “living stone”– ordinary looking, but hand-picked and beloved by God. And God has loaded the rest of us in here with you. Like my friend Kevin, God never places just one or even a few stones in His tumbler. God knows critical mass is essential for adequate results.

The church reflects Jesus in community not isolation

A critical mass of living stones – that’s your Calvary family. None of us can be polished up to reflect Jesus in isolation. God’s priority for bringing out the gem in us will forever be the tumbler of the local church. The problem is that, unlike my friend Kevin’s gems, we living stones choose how long we are polished in the slurry of our local congregation. Far too often when the saints tumbling around us get on our nerves or in our face, we are prone to pop the lid.

But in 2013, let’s stay put together in God’s tumbler. Let’s see how much we can improve at mixing it up with others in deeper community. Let’s not be like marbles rattling in a bag, but like grapes meshing in a press. Paul used a grape-meshing word, a-ley-lon, translated “one another,” to describe saints being tumbled in community. The degree to which Calvary is an a-ley-lon church (grapes meshing) or an all-alone church (marbles rattling) could be the single most important factor on how polished we become, individually and as a community.

Finally, know that polishing hurts! Before my wife had her tonsils removed, her physician warned, “Michele, removing adult tonsils really hurts. You’ll think I goofed up. But hang in there. It’s normal.” He was right. God often uses those saints around us to do the surgery. Paul used polishing verbs like “admonish,” “exhort,” “rebuke,” “correct,” “spur on.” Ouch. Polishing is painful.

Though he never saw a rock tumbler, the Apostle Paul was an expert on the polishing process: “We rejoice in our tribulation, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character . . .” (Romans 5:3,4 NAS). Tribulation, perseverance, the emerging lines of proven character – I can almost hear the persistent swoosh coming from the top of God’s dresser.

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