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In Good Company

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The first stone to arrive was an odd shape and didn’t fit the idea that the builders had in mind. After conversing among themselves and puzzling over this issue, they decided to roll the stone down the hill and allow it to be reclaimed by nature.

Years went by and the temple was finally close to completion. The builders wrote to the quarry to tell them they were finally ready for the cornerstone. In confusion, the quarry wrote back saying that the cornerstone had been delivered already. It wasn’t until this moment that the builders realized that the misshapen stone they thought had been sent by mistake was actually the most important one for the build. They just hadn’t recognized it as such.

They ran down the hill, uncovered the growth that had set upon the stone, and made ready to place it into the temple. This teaching rarely goes beyond a simple instruction to be thorough in your work, but we know that the Chief Cornerstone, rejected once, is none other than Jesus Christ Himself (1 Peter 2:4 1 Peter 2:4To whom coming, as to a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
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).

Now in 2020, we see Christ’s assurance come to life when He stated that the world would hate those that follow Him (John 15:18-20 John 15:18-20 [18] If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. [19] If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. [20] Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
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). Less and less people are identifying as Christian and more people are becoming increasingly intolerant of those of us that are. Have you ever felt afraid of being rejected if you express your Christian beliefs in today’s landscape? You are in good company.

Earlier this year, amid the throes of the coronavirus crisis in New York City, pop-up hospitals funded and run by Samaritan’s Purse, a charitable organization led by Franklin Graham (son of famous evangelist, Billy Graham), faced heavy backlash when they continued their practice of requiring volunteers and workers for their organization to sign a Statement of Faith.

Among other things, their Statement of Faith outlines a belief in the biblical precedent for marriage between a man and a woman, as well as anti-abortion ideologies. In response to the criticism, Mr. Graham released a statement saying that they never discriminate on the patients that they treat—but Samaritan’s Purse does operate under a belief in the Bible and Jesus Christ, and chooses like-minded people to further their ministry. The city of New York responded in a statement wondering, “Was there going to be an approach that was truly consistent with the values of New York City?”

Samaritan’s Purse was under scathing critique from the city and its residents while trying to do good.  Jesus Christ was hated by the world for the truth that He preached to save them. This is nothing new—and we in God’s Church have likely faced similar backlash for trying to peacefully adhere to our beliefs. Like this contemporary organization in New York City, we also might find ourselves harshly rejected for doing right (1 Peter 2:20-24 1 Peter 2:20-24 [20] For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? but if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. [21] For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps: [22] Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: [23] Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously: [24] Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.
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)—but it should be a comfort to know that we are in good company.