Expectations, Self righteousness, and the True Cornerstone

By Pastor Brady Wolcott

Mark 12:10. Have you not read this Scripture: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

I was reminded yesterday once again of the beautiful necessity and profundity of the gospel. That we are both more wicked than we could ever imagine and more loved than we could ever dare hope. That it is Christ’s life and death that is the cornerstone or foundation of everything in my life. That his life answers every deep question that I have for this life, while keeping hidden the shallow answers that I expect from God to appease me.

In reflection upon yesterday, I can think of a couple ways that we can reject the stone of Jesus Christ and refuse to allow him to be our cornerstone.

The first is through our expectations. We all live in a series of great expectations. Expectations that we put upon each other, and upon God himself. For example, at my age you begin to look back on your life and think “Is my life turning out the way I thought it would?” I had expectations and those expectations have gone unmet. Why didn’t God meet my expectations? What about my career goals? What about my struggling children? What about my health? What about my ongoing struggle with sin? These were not part of my plan.

The second is in our defense of our own self righteousness.

We heard the sad news yesterday that a young college student that had attended Grace Christian School had been shot by police in Florida. She allegedly hit a police officer with her car and was then shot by the other officer. On social media Christian friends of mine talked about either the injustice or justice that had occurred. Those that spoke in favor of the police officers were chided for being insensitive. This led to the defending of not only their view but also their own character. As you can imagine it quickly devolved into personal attacks. What is happening here? We are rejecting the way of the love, gentleness, and compassion of Christ our foundational stone and making our own views, opinions, and self righteousness our cornerstone.

I have seen this time and time again. It breaks my heart. Why do we do this? Why do we argue for our position on Facebook when actual human hearts are breaking? Why do we make everything but Jesus our cornerstone? Our foundation? Why are my goals, my expectations, my opinions, my knowledge, my skills, my friends, my insecurities, my abilities, why are these things the foundation rather than Christ?

What is the solution? We have to constantly be drawn back to the beautiful simplicity and profundity of the gospel. When we make the gospel the Kindergarten rather than the whole school, and we believe that we graduate past it into greater morality and wisdom, it is then that we make ourselves the very foundation of our lives. Our greater knowledge, our greater morality, our greater opinions, our greater expectations. But if the gospel is the classroom from which we never graduate, then I live a life of total dependence on God and Christ and the love of the trinity. I understand that the Holy Spirit’s role is to keep me dependent on God (just as Christ was one earth) and that my self righteousness is meaningless, and my expectations are a distraction from the things of Christ.