A Time To: Cast Away & Gather Stones

Sunday, September 18, 2016



A Time To: A Whole Teens Mini-Series
September 18: Ecclesiastes 3:5a, A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together.

READ
"A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together." (Ecclesiastes 3:5a)

REFLECT
I have enjoyed this mini-series so much. The beauty of a small series like this is that each verse is unique and open to interpretation - we each have our own way of analyzing a verse. God is able to show us each different things through just a single Scripture. And I have enjoyed reading the different things we all take away from each verse.

With that being said, I know that when I read today's Ecclesiastes Scripture that it was one that could be taken multiple ways. But the one thing that came to my mind instantly when I read this verse is: relationships.

Relationships. Those things we care so much about and go to extensive lengths to obtain and keep. 

This summer I had an intense time with a lot of the relationships I had with people. Most of the issues I had with people had me trapped in an endless cycle of being the victim to broken promises and unwanted behavior. I felt immense pressure to stay with these people, pray about it and get through the rough times while trusting that God would work on it.

So with this mindset, I moved forward simply not happy with the direction some of my relationships were going...but dealing with it. Because that is what I felt we had to do as Christians: deal with it. And let God do everything.

But a great friend of mine, going through something very similar, showed me that this "deal with it" ideology is simply not true. Yes - God is the only one who can change hearts, but we have our strings to pull too.

After years of dealing with a suffocating relationship, she followed through with God's Hand in her social life and made the decision to move on without that person. She was done with being oppressed as a victim to somebody else's problems. Ever since, God has made amazing advances in her life and her relationship with the Lord has strengthened in ways she couldn't have ever imagined.

There comes a time, ladies, when casting away stones is not only normal, but healthy and beneficial for our social life. This means that - removing those negative influences from your life is never a bad thing. 

We have this false idea that as a follower of Christ, we need to keep everybody around, regardless of how unhealthy they are for us, and simply pray that it will all work out... 

Well sometimes, taking that initial step of respectfully cutting the rope and casting away those stones is what it is going to take for you to be happy and your relationships to be restored. Never be sorry for casting away stones - but let the Lord confirm to you that that is the right decision.

But there is no denying that once our social life is stable and flourishing, it is glorious! 

Friendship is beautiful, girls. It is one aspect of life that I believe we all take for granted. 

If and when you find a good group of friends who pursue Christ with you and have your back, keep them, gather them together and hold on to them. 

Hold firmly to the fellowship you can experience with other people - some long to have those stones they can gather but just find themselves with those they can only cast away.

Overall, casting and gathering stones are two aspects of our social life that we all are bound to experience at one point or another. You will have your times of gathering and also your times of casting. But know that God is involved in both. Whatever He leads you to do with the stones He has given you, are for your own good and growth.

PRAY
Lord, I thank You for the cherished gift of friendship. I ask you, God, to open my eyes to this blessed gift and make me realize the things I can benefit from the friendships You give me. I pray that as You continue to add stones to my life as I age, that You would guide me in making the proper decisions. I understand that casting away and gathering those stones is a part of the journey that You have laid out for me.
Amen.

YOUR TURN
Have you had your times of casting away and gathering?
Do you feel like there are some relationships right now that need work?
How involved is the Lord in your social life?

Written by: Haley Phelps

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