'What are you doing with your heart-stones?'
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:"(1)  and "a time to cast
away stones, and a time to gather stones together ..."
(2).   Many of the metaphors and allegories in
the Old Testament were centered around agricultural themes and activities.   Most people living in  
that age resided either in or close to an agrarian economy and the symbolism was commonplace
and familiar.  The land owner, or tenant, must first clear the land of rocks and stones (cast away
stones) in order to prepare the soil for cultivation and planting. If stones were not cleared (out) the
wood of the plowshare could be easily damaged. Once the land was cleared and planted, stones
that were 'cast out' (to the edge of the property) were gathered and piled as boundary markers for
all to know where one man's planted field ended and that of another began. A symbolic parallel
meaning here can apply to various aspects in a believer's life, as well as events and ministries in a
local church.
Several scriptures speak to us about 'stony ground' being symbolic of one type of 'heart' ... when the
word of God is sown into one's heart, yet does not remain for "it did not have much soil" to take root
and "when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away"
(Mk. 4:5, 17).
Scripture reveals that God seldom plants His great blessings into the
unbroken ground of a stony
heart ... for
unplowed soil does not bear a fruitful harvest and will not sustain growth during dry times
much less a drought
(see Matt. 13:18-22).  The process of 'casting out stones' from our own heart is
seldom a pleasurable experience ... in that, it most often requires a prompting from the Holy Spirit
and surely can involve a forceful removal. God chastens those He loves
(see Rev. 3:19).  Natural man
is most reluctant to relinquish his indulgences, vices and ingrained attitudes (e.g., strongholds)
which are not in accord with God's economy and commandments. Congregational settings may also
have hardened surfaces that will need to be 'loosened' (plowed by the Holy Spirit) to receive and
absorb the outpouring of spiritual rain that is prophesied to come in the last days.
The natural man usually opposes voluntary submission to authority and resists seeking the
examination and inspection of others.  As we walk around and over the stony areas of our life we can
become blind to our own infertile ground.  The former rain comes to soften and prepare the earth for
planting and the latter rain comes to nourish the planted seed
(see Deu. 11:13,14).  If the
former-and-latter rain come in the same month
(see Joel 2:23) the spiritual land which is broken,
prepared and free from stony parts will be the ground that will receive and be able to hold the
spiritual blessing from God's outpouring.  Spare no effort, prayer, repentance or forgiveness to
prepare your heart for God's coming visitation ... do not let the outpouring of His Holy Spirit become
runoff, as rainwater drains off dry hardened earth.  Christ admonishes us to take the beam (log) out
of our own eye before we proclaim the speck in our brother's eye
(see Lk. 6:41).  Seek out others in
the body of Christ to walk with you and examine your spiritual ground (e.g., your heart) so that any
beam in
your eye does not obscure a stony place.  This is not a time for idle stewardship over the
seed or ground the Father has placed in our care.  Now is the time to be 'casting out stones' from
our pasture land (heart) in order to be prepared for God's coming former-and-latter day rain (Holy
Spirit outpouring).   Each of the eight verses in Eccl. 3:1-8 are parabolic and need to be understood
beyond their surface meaning, e.g., "a time" in verse (2) et al., is "divinely appointed time" and not
time elements man has commissioned for himself.  Some marginalized gospel teaching of today,
especially certain television  ministry broadcasts, knowingly or by default are foisting 'man as the
master of his own divine providence' and able to orchestrate his individual destiny with God
ostensibly as a bystander.  Place your 'heart stones' at the foot of Christ's throne and let Him quarry
your heart.

Jon D. Hannum, Ph.D.
Amen Ministries of Austin
(1) (Eccl. 3:1-Niv)   (2) (Eccl. 3:5-Kjv)
amen_ministries@hotmail.com ------------- aamen.org ----------- P.O. Box 27683 Austin, TX 78755