The Story of Stone Soup
Once upon a time, somewhere in post-war Eastern Europe, there was a great famine in which people jealously hoarded whatever food they could find, hiding it even from their friends and neighbors. One day a wandering soldier came into a village and began asking questions as if he planned to stay for the night.
“There’s not a bite to eat in the whole province,” he was told. “Better keep moving on.”
“Oh, I have everything I need,” he said. “In fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you.” He pulled an iron cauldron from his wagon, filled it with water, and built a fire under it. Then, with great ceremony, he drew an ordinary-looking stone from a velvet bag and dropped it into the water.
By now, hearing the rumor of food, most of the villagers had come to the square or watched from their windows. As the soldier sniffed the “broth” and licked his lips in anticipation, hunger began to overcome their skepticism.
“Ahh,” the soldier said to himself rather loudly, “I do like a tasty stone soup. Of course, stone soup with cabbage — that’s hard to beat.”
Soon a villager approached hesitantly, holding a cabbage he’d retrieved from its hiding place, and added it to the pot. “Capital!” cried the soldier. “You know, I once had stone soup with cabbage and a bit of salt beef as well, and it was fit for a king.”
The village butcher managed to find some salt beef . . . and so it went, through potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and so on, until there was indeed a delicious meal for all. The villagers offered the soldier a great deal of money for the magic stone, but he refused to sell and traveled on the next day. The moral is that by working together, with everyone contributing what they can, a greater good is achieved.
(copied from http://www.extremelinux.info/stonesoup/stonesoup.html)
I don’t know where I first heard the story of Stone Soup, but it was a long time ago, and it wasn’t until just recently that it came back to mind.
It was probably ’cause our fridge seems like it’s always empty, and it seems to be even emptier when people stop by.
Now before you begin re-directing the Food Bank to our doorstep, let me explain something: We aren’t poor. It’s not that we couldn’t buy more food, we just choose to budget tightly and I do grocery shopping every two weeks. Most of our “extra” money has been going into our house remodel, so we’ve chosen to live even more conservatively with our finances.
That said, sometimes I feel embarrassed when I realize someone is going to stop by and I’m down to eggs and frozen berries. However, add a splash of milk and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg…and a few slices of bread which will most likely be in the freezer, too…and now there is French toast to serve. Sometimes I have to get creative, but mostly I just have to be thankful. God always provides, and often it’s in abundance.
I randomly opened up to 2 Kings today and was reminded of another loaves/fishes/stone soup story, involving Elisha. In a matter of a few verses, God performs a miracle.
A man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said.
“How can I set this before a hundred men?” his servant asked.
But Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the LORD says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.'”
Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD.
(2 Kings 4:42-44)
I wonder if Jesus’ disciples had heard this story before He distributed the loaves and fishes among the crowd. I wonder if they would have still raised their eyebrows at Him.
God seems to delight in making more out of less; using the smallest to be mighty, or the lowliest to become great. He loves displaying His power in our lives. So many stories…Gideon and David always come to mind first, but there are so many other people God used to demonstrate that He is capable to make more of our lives.
Sometimes it’s trusting that He will provide the carrots and potatoes; sometimes it’s just trusting Him to be the stone…the stone the builders rejected, which became the Cornerstone.