In Greek mythology, the legend of Sisyphus relates the tale of a poor mortal who angered the gods so much that they punished him by sentencing him to spend eternity at an impossible task – pushing a rock up a mountain, only to have it roll back down time after time.
This is my twist on the legend of Sisyphus…
Once upon a time, a man prayed fervently for God to reveal His will for the man’s life. God led him to the base of a tall mountain where a boulder had fallen from the face of the slope.
“Push the rock,” God told the man.
“Tiziano – Sísifo” by Titian – Photo taken by Dodo. Retouched with clens and the Gimp.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
“But, Lord, that boulder is larger than I am! I couldn’t possibly push that rock up this mountain!” The man responded.
“Push the rock,” God repeated.
The man argued with God and reasoned with God. He ignored God’s instruction and turned his back for a time. He folded his arms across his chest and finally threw them up in despair.
Finally, he sighed, bowed his head, placed his hands upon the rock and began to push.
The rock did not move.
All day the man pushed on the rock. He tried throwing his weight against it. He tried pressing with his legs. He tried turning around and pushing with his back. At the end of the day, the rock had not moved. Not one inch.
The next day, the man arose and heard the voice of God again. “Push the rock.”
The man returned to the rock. Again he pressed and pushed all day long. No matter how hard he tried, the rock did not move. Not one inch.
Day after day, God called the man and he returned to the rock and pushed. Day after day, the rock did not move. Not one inch.
Some days the man pleaded with God to give him some other task. Some days the man sang as he pushed. Some days the man wept and cried out to God to help move the rock. Some days the man stood back and prayed, “Lord, I know in your mighty power, you alone are able to move this rock! I believe and have faith that you will move this rock when I say, move. Now, rock, by the power of God, MOVE!” Still the rock did not move. Not one inch.
At the end of the man’s life, he wept with frustration and sorrow. He was a failure. He had spent his entire life pushing that rock and he had failed. In all those years, the rock had not moved. Not one inch.
When the man passed away, he was greeted by God. He wept and cried out in regret, “Oh, Lord, I’m so sorry! I wasn’t able to push that rock no matter how hard I tried.” He hung his head, ashamed of his failure at the one task God had given him.
But God took his hand and led him to the shore of the crystal sea and said, “Look into the water and tell me what you see.”
The man looked at his reflection and barely recognized himself. Before him was the image of a mountain of a man, strong and rugged. Muscles built through years of pressing on the rock covered his broad chest. His arms bulged beneath his sleeves and his legs were as hard as the boulder itself had been.
“You have achieved everything I asked of you. Your task was never about moving the rock – it was about moving you from complacency to action, from self-assurance to dependence on Me, and from weak, ineffective faith to a faith that moves mountains.”
Sometimes God calls us to work that is not intended to change others, but to change us.
What has God called you to that you have yet to see any fruit from?