The children’s story, Stone Soup, is based on common folk tales from around the world. A group of weary travelers passes through a war-torn village on their way home. They have no food, and go around the village asking if anyone will provide them with a meal. Every door remains closed and the shutters are locked tight. They are as welcome as those alternative door-knocking religious people in a town full of Southern Baptists.
What to do? The men get out their little camp pot, select three smooth stones from the village square, fill the pot with water, and begin to cook stone soup. Soon enough, the villagers get curious. Soup made from stones seems to be a convenient way to handle a tight budget. The travelers begin to reminisce about great stone soups of the past by naming off ingredients that would make the soup “just a little bit better.” Eventually, the addition of this and that from different villagers’ homes provides a tasty soup for everyone.
The moral of the story is that sharing is better than stinginess, and that’s true. When the story is applied to Ephesians 4:7-16, it goes beyond just sharing to the idea that everyone has something to contribute to the church. Each of us is uniquely created and gifted by God with something to share for everyone. The New Living Translation catches the idea well in v. 7 by saying, “he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.” These divinely appointed gifts are the different elements of a great “soup,” a blend of different personalities and abilities that bring life and vitality to the church community. Pathway has a pretty good soup on; it’s just the right size, and every “ingredient” is important.
Week after week, as I interact with the Pathway family, I see the many ways each person functions to make the whole church a better place. There are some who do manual labor, others who keep us on track financially, and still others who work to provide a great worship experience. What a great place to serve together!