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  • Writer's pictureBeth Hildebrand

To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Question

To be or not to be, that is the question.

Quick: What’s the book and who’s the author?

Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

I remember reading Romeo and Juliet in high school but when I got to college, and I thought at the time I wanted to be a high school English teacher, I took a William Shakespeare course.  It was quite a challenge I must say: the meaning of passages and the fact it was a 2pm class. Shakespeare is some hard stuff to understand.  His words don’t flow naturally in my brain and I have to really work at it to grasp their meaning, but I still believe it’s a work of art.  I have all due respect for his amazing gift of writing and the depths of soul unleashed through his plays.

That quote I mentioned by Shakespeare was when Hamlet was in a dark place in life where he’s moaning about the pains and unfairness of life.  (Well I guess that’s the overall tone of the entire play).

So where am I going with this?  Yes, to reminisce about a college course, but also because that quote, “To be or not to be – that is the question” showed up out of no where when I was reading about rocks.  Well, really stones.  Back about 2000 years ago, stones were kind of important.  Well, really important because that is what many buildings were constructed with, especially temples.  The temples were made by men as they somehow raised enormous stones one by one and shaped them into the perfect space to erect the walls that held the Holiest of Holy in God’s temple.

Jesus’ disciple, Peter, wrote about this in his letter found in the Bible.

“Come to Him—the living stone—who was rejected by people but accepted by God as chosen and precious. Like living stones, let yourselves be assembled into a spiritual house, a holy order of priests who offer up spiritual sacrifices that will be acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5 Voice)

I’ve been studying 1 Peter the past few weeks and the subtitle of this study is, “Becoming living stones in a dying world”.  For me, it’s opened my eyes a little wider.  Maybe it’s because of the pertinence of it these days.  Reading that subtitle again, I think harder about the word “become“.   So, I found the definition which says “grow to be”.

To be.

This is where Shakespeare’s words come in:To be or not to be; that is the question”.  Am I going to choose TO BE a living stone built from the Cornerstone, who is Christ Jesus or am I choosing TO NOT BE and be part of a dying world where people don’t proclaim Christ as Savior and live out His Word? 

It’s all a choice.  It reminds me of something I read by Ann Voskamp, “Busy is a choice. Stress is a choice. Joy is a choice.”  Some things in life aren’t necessarily a choice like today’s weather forecast, but most things are.  You have the choice of how you’ll react to a rainy day.  Will you grumble because you might get a little wet outside or will you see it with gratitude because it’s watering the natural art gallery of flowers, grass and trees – and getting rid of pollen?!

It’s our choice on how we look at things, on how we act or react or how we choose to live and how we choose to be.

Will I choose to be a Christ follower and leader?  Will I choose to stoop down low to serve?  Will I choose to make space for Him and others?Will I choose to be still, to pay attention, and prepare?  Will I choose to give grace?  Will I choose to love?  Will I choose to be that living stone that’s part of God’s home and be the one God  created who fits in just the right place at the right time?

The Greek word for “living” is zoe, meaning “not just human existence but life in fullness”.  The zoe stone.  The “life-in-fullness” stone.  Not a lifeless stone because that’s what they really are.  They aren’t living creatures that breathe and move.  It is not until we ask Christ to breathe life in our hearts and inner most beings when we can rise from a dying world and become living stones.  Each one of us part of God’s design.

I pray and long for this dying world to repent and become living stones for God.  I’m choosing to be instead of not to be.

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