Peter’s Rock (or why there are so many denominations)

Have you ever wondered why there are so many different Christian denominations?  Zora Neale Hurston in her book Of Mules and Men, tells an African-American folktale that gives a whimsical answer to that question.

Once, as Jesus was walking with his disciples, he told each of them to pick up a large rock and carry it with them.  All of the disciples picked rocks that weighed maybe 5 or 6 pounds, but Peter was kind of lazy. So he picked up a rock that was no bigger than a golf ball and slipped it into his pocket.  As the day wore on, the disciples ‘ rocks grew heavier, but Peter walked along without a care in the world.

That evening Jesus told all of the disciples to put their rock on the table top. 

“Now, boys,” Jesus said, these rocks are gonna be our evening meal,” and after a prayer he turned each of the rocks into bread.  The 11 disciples each ate their fill, but Peter only got a single mouthful.

Several days later, Jesus again told his disciples to pick up a large rock.  This time Peter  picked up a boulder that weighed thirty or forty pounds. 

At the end of the day, Jesus looked at Peter’s rock and was very impressed.

Jesus said, “Peter, that’s a mighty fine rock.  It’s so big and so strong, I’m gonna use it to build my church.”

“No, sir!” said Peter.  “This rock is gonna be my supper.”

“Well, Peter, how am I gonna build my church?”

“Lord, piece all these other rocks together and that can be the foundation for your church.”

So that’s what the Lord did.

But with the passing of time the other rocks came unstuck and broke into many pieces. And that’s why there are so many denominations. If the Lord had used Peter’s rock, we would only have one church

May God grant that we not be as selfish as Peter, but let the Lord do with our lives what he thinks best.

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