Growing up on a rural farm, chores were assigned to us kids about the time we could begin to walk and talk. One of our chores was to keep our fields clear of rocks. They came in 3 sizes: tall (skipping rock size), grande (softball size), and venti (lift with your legs)! The larger rocks posed the greatest risk to farm equipment, livestock, and crops, and were attended to first. After that, the medium rocks. And then finally, the smallest rocks. The result was a field able to reach its assigned potential.
Jesus taught a similar message in Matthew 6. He encourages us to identify the logs in our eyes that prevent us from seeing clearly. Through true repentance (confession and behavior change), the logs can be removed. Much like the large rocks, these obvious sins carry the greatest risk to our relationship with God. Once removed, we can see clearly, and God can begin to use us in His community to help each other out with the specks (smaller rocks) that seem to continue to plague us and others.
Unlike my solitary chore demands, Jesus is a co-laborer with us on this adventure. In fact, all the sins of the world have already been removed through His sacrifice. So he asks us to yoke ourselves to Him in this sanctifying process. He has made us right with God, and He desires us to act like it! Not so we can earn our salvation, but so we can tap into its marvelous benefits.
After the dark, cold days of winter, a strange thing appeared back in our fields: ROCKS! The constant rain and freeze cycles had rooted up more rocks from the depths of the earth. My rock-picking chores were never-ending! And so in our walk with the Lord, the sins of this world at times will continue to plague us. But instead of despair, these imperfect reminders can cause us to rejoice with thankfulness in our eternal hope of a Savior that always takes care of us. As we parent our children through this journey as well, may we maximize the opportunity to share the goodness of the gospel in all things. And if you ever need some help with rock-picking, I know a guy!