Being gathered in today's terminology hardly refers to anything constructive. Its meaning, I'm sure, is contrary to what Sir Solomon may have intended. In fact, according to the urban dictionary, you are gathered when a person tries to come for you or question you and your authority, and you retaliate with pure indiscriminate justice. This often makes the victim embarrassed, ashamed or belittled.
Now imagine that. Someone collects all the most inconceivable bits and pieces about you and then hurls them at you like little mistles, all to break you down. Picture David slinging that stone at Goliath's head but him surviving to hear his fellow soldiers jeering at how a wee boy defeats a big ole hefty giant!
I highly doubt Solomon urged us to gather stones to hurt folks. But however you are led to interpret what Solomon means, one might agree that this act is intended to cultivate, grow, build, or protect.
I imagine it like a contractor placing an order to a supply company requesting all he needs to erect a sound structure. I picture the construction team coming together, each man skillfully placing one block atop the other to meet a common goal. But as Myles Munroe said, "When the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is undoubtedly inevitable." As with most things, we have to give function to things and the rocks you are gathering are no different.
Lately, I've noticed that as a society; it's as if we are stuck in a perpetual day of opposites. But Isaiah told us this would happen. He warned, "What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light, and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. (Isaiah 5:20 NLT)
As I studied this topic, it became apparent that you can't, or perhaps shouldn't, gather stones before you have scattered them. Each action is equally vital to the building process as a whole. Namely, "scattering stones" is demolishing an old structure and "gathering stones" is preparing to construct a new one.
Think about it; the seal must first be broken of anything when trying to get its contents out. After ‘life’ forced me to scatter my stones (unveiling the not-so-pretty sides of me), it was time to gather what was usable (or so I thought) to rebuild a better me.
First things had to be first. I had to consult a skilled and proficient Architect. One who would know where to put what and how to repurpose those traits, I thought unworkable. This immediately cancelled out people. And like a lot of homeowners, though, I wanted what I wanted and how I wanted it. Fun fact: it doesn't work that way with the Chief Architect. You have to give Him full autonomy over the project. Why? Because there are moments when the professional can best guide you on using all the parts for maximum efficiency.
I was immediately reminded of how God instructed Noah to build the ark. The specificity was bar none. "Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper." (Genesis 6:14-16 NLT)
Seriously, God thought of everything as if He planned for every possible scenario. He accounted for what type of material was best to withstand water of vast amounts and the length of time the ark was to be in that water.
God, in all his omniscience, considered what was best for humanity and the animal kingdom to coexist in an enclosed environment for an extended period. God took into account everything that concerned Noah. And as a result, it was not only for his bebefit; but also for those attached to him to be safe and saved. It's no different when it comes to your life. But from our limited preview, we want to hold on to things He wants to upgrade. Yes, the cabinets can be reused, but He now wants to give you custom made.
Take a look at your life. Can what you're building with your scattered stones keep anyone safe? For instance, I heard that feeling secure in a marriage is huge. So ladies, whether you are married or not, can a husband find any refuge outside of God in you? Or are you more concerned with hardwood floors and the perfect granite (i.e. friends, career and self) that you've blown through the budget(used up all your good years)? Focusing on the aesthetics and not the foundation, never considering that insulating the house, is far more critical than scoring the best stainless steel appliances. Spending time and energy on the wrong things is the quickest way to stall a project.
Can a friend come to you with their issues, and they remain confidential (hidden from public view)? Can you cover someone's indiscretions without feeling the need to be the first one to expose them? Better still, do you have anything to offer if you encounter someone who needs s sanctuary (Godly wisdom)? Can you be anybody's earthly shelter in their time of storm?
I know I couldn’t do any of those things for a long time. I used to wonder why coworkers and even my ‘friends’ would go to any and everyone but me with their issues. I mean, I knew Christians whose besties were unsaved. But as for me and my house, we were not giving off safety vibes.
My language was hardly ever one of wisdom because I was too busy being condescending and judgey. Save for people seeing me on my church's Facebook live stream on Sunday, my life perhaps was not giving saved, sanctified, Holy Ghost filled, water baptized and running for my life! Why would they come to me?
While I'm at it, I might as well admit that in relationships, my mouth caused me not to be a safe space, either. Solitude has really forced me to think about my words and be responsible with where and when I voiced my opinion. Being alone caused me to scatter those stones and then gather (only by leading of Holy Spirit) with the kind of clarity and precision He designed for me to thrive in purpose.
The phases of scattering stones and then gathering them is not pretty, and might I add, uncomfortable. You'll get some bruises along the way, but nothing beats that feeling of knowing you've done the work. Even God stepped back and said, "Yes, this is good." And no, I'm not saying this is the be-all and end-all of the process. Once a house is built, it then needs maintenance, but that is another story for another day!