What’s Your Cornerstone for 2020?
What’s Your Cornerstone for 2020?
When we bought our house fifteen years ago, we couldn’t afford it. So our plan was to turn one side of it into a rental unit. The problem? That side of the house didn’t have a bathroom.
So I said to myself, “How hard could it be to build a bathroom?” I hired an architecture student at UH to draw up the plans for $500. I got the permit from DPP. I laid out the foundation, and I got some friends to help pour the concrete. Then I framed the walls and roof. Hung the siding and the drywall. And it all looked great until the very last step: putting tile on the floor.
That’s when I realized that this bathroom isn’t a square. It’s a parallelogram. If you go in that bathroom today? You just have to take a quick glance at the tiles against the wall to see how crooked this thing was constructed. And it all goes back to the very first step, when I laid down the first angle of the foundation.
In ancient construction, that was called laying down the cornerstone. The cornerstone was the most important part of the whole structure. The rest of the building was laid out using the cornerstone as a guide. So the cornerstone had to be cut perfectly straight. It had to be laid in the ground in exactly the right position. Because the angles of the cornerstone determined where all of the walls in the rest of the building would go. If the cornerstone wasn’t totally perfect? Then your building would be totally crooked.
So here’s the question: What’s your cornerstone?
Think about it. Your life is a building project. Right now, you’re constructing something with your life. And over the next year, you’re going to be making some changes to that building. Maybe you’ll add something beautiful to your building. Or maybe you’ll do something funky with your building. Or maybe you’ll just cruise, and neglect your building. Which means your building will be slowly decaying.
You’re building something with your life, and the most important question for you to ask is: What’s my cornerstone? What’s the foundation I’m building my life on? What is it in life that determines my core values and life priorities? What is it that determines what I do, and where I go?
There’s only one perfectly-straight cornerstone to build our lives on. As God said through Isaiah, “Look, I have laid a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will be unshakable” (Isaiah 28:16). And according to Peter, that cornerstone is Jesus:
As you come to him, a living stone — rejected by people but chosen and honored by God — you yourselves, as living stones, a spiritual house, are being built to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and honored cornerstone, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame. (1 Peter 2:4-6)
Now, you’re reading a Christian blog, so you probably want to use Jesus somewhere in the building project of your life. But maybe he’s not really the cornerstone. It could be what determines your priorities in life is your own desires, dreams, and ambitions. Maybe it’s another person.
Peter calls Jesus the “chosen and honored” cornerstone. Another way to translate that word “honored” is “precious.” So here’s another way to ask the question of what your cornerstone is: What’s most precious to me? What do I treasure most in life?
In his book, The Bookends of the Christian Life, Jerry Bridges offers twelve questions to help identify what you treasure most in life:
I am preoccupied with ________.
If only ________, then I would be happy.
I get my sense of significance from ________.
I would protect and preserve ________ at any cost.
I fear losing ________.
The thing that gives me greatest pleasure is ________.
When I lose ________, I get angry, resentful, frustrated, anxious, or depressed.
For me, life depends on ________.
The thing I value more than anything in the world is ________.
When I daydream, my mind goes to________.
The best thing I can think of is ________.
The thing that makes me want to get out of bed in the morning is ________.
Whatever you filled in the blank with? That’s your cornerstone. That’s what determines what you do and where you go. But here’s the problem with most of our cornerstones: They don’t last! The things in this world rust and corrode. Popularity and respect in this world fades away. The people in this world move away. They get sick and die.
So here’s what makes Jesus better than all our other cornerstones. Peter says Jesus is a living stone. He’s not going to erode like every other stone. He’s completely unlike the things in this world and the people in this world.
So how will you make Jesus your cornerstone for 2020?