Over the past weekend, Jesus (in Mark 9) said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” The word St. Mark used for “causing one to sin” is “scandal.” Scandal, in its original meaning, meant “stumbling block.” So, the verse is most accurately rendered, “if one of you is a stumbling block for others….”
Take a moment this week to ponder the difference between “a stumbling block” and “a stepping stone.” If we were to become stepping stones, we would more effectively and fruitfully lead others to Jesus, not keep them from Him, right?
A few ideas come to mind. When someone this week shares a problem with you, or mentions a sick relative or friend, or mentions a loved one who has died, or even if someone you know just seems sad or down, say: “Tell you what: I’m going to say a prayer for you tonight.” (And don’t just think it, say the prayer – out loud!) When someone this week shares some good news with you, as you share in their joy, say, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!” (And say this out loud, too!) And one other way to be a stepping stone instead of a road block is to ask someone else to pray for YOU! If the person says, “Oh, I don’t really pray…” say: “Well, just keep me in your heart, then – I’m sure God will be looking there.”
Each of these is a way we can become stepping stones … or maybe a way to begin to take the rough edges off the stumbling blocks we can sometimes be. Either way, let’s make the path to Jesus easier to follow; as we know, it’s a path that leads to eternal life and joy. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”