A few weeks ago at church we had a missionary from Haiti speak. He brought us amazing stories of how God is working in the country of Haiti and a challenge, “We are never more like God than when we give.” This is not the first time I’ve heard this quote, frankly, when tithing is spoken about this is a quote that comes out. In the midst of all the stories our missionary speaker added a side comment. He said that when a new church is built in a community, all the people are asked to bring a rock to the groundbreaking ceremony to help create the church’s foundation.
He also said that because of the earthquake and conditions people live in there are tons of random rocks of good size just laying around, so this is something that everyone can participate in. I was SO struck by this statement. Haiti is a country that has many people who live on pennies a day or less. There are thousands that are still living in tent communities as the areas are rebuilt, and there are many without work. Asking a community like this to fund a building project would be incredibly challenging and yet, this simple request of bringing a rock allows all who desire to contribute in a real and tangible way to the foundation of the church building.
As I reflect on this simple act more and more, I realize that these missionaries have taught these communities that they are building churches in that they are able to serve God and their community just as they are. These foundation builders contribute BEFORE they have the perfect job BEFORE they have the perfect building to worship in (or live in!), BEFORE they have an established ministry that has reached the masses. These foundation builders have also learned that using the resources most readily available are just as good (if not better) then the newest or most expensive resources around.
Additionally, this simple act of bringing a rock, of contributing can occur BEFORE the person bringing the rock has “everything all together.” The vision of men, women, and children all carrying their rocks, various sizes, shapes, colors…this vision brings to mind a verse. 1 Chronicles 28:9a says: “And you, Solomon, my son, get to know well your father’s God; serve him with a whole heart and eager mind, for God examines every heart and sees through every motive.” (Message Version).
God examines every heart and sees through every motive. How often is it that we have a right heart about a situation, but we hesitate to act because of what other people might think? The people who participate in this Rock Offering come from all backgrounds, and really, the only thing that is uniting them is the desire to take part in building the foundation of a church in their community. Hebrews 11:1-3 in the Message version says: “1-2The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. 3By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see.”
To me, the act of bringing a rock offering is an act of faith. A statement that God wants them to be a part of the foundation of the church, because he has examined their heart. So the question has to be asked…what foundation is God asking you to help build?