In the stone industry, granite and marble are smoothed and polished with abrasives. It is during this exacting process that an expert stone master carefully works rough stone to a mirror-like finish. Through his painstaking efforts he can turn unappealing stone into a finely polished, highly-desirable object.
When the stone master starts the polishing process on a granite surface, he wisely selects the appropriate abrasive tool with the correct coarseness. The initial rough surface is smoothed with coarse abrasives, and the coarseness of the selected tool is measured to a scale of grit size. This is similar to using sandpaper when smoothing wood – the coarseness of the grit carefully selected to match the desired finish.
As he purposefully guides the tool across the hard stone surface, he allows the abrasion process to run its course. The initial stages are critical in achieving the desired end-result. To deliver a high glossy finish he ensures that each stage of the polishing process is given the time and effort needed to remove the scuff and scratch marks, a process that cannot be rushed. At the end of each stage, he changes to a smoother grit, using the finer abrasive particles – and consequently the smoother the stone surface becomes. In practice, the polishing stage of stone is the most time-consuming part of the manufacturing process and often causes frustration to those who are impatient.
The stone master carefully monitors and controls the temperature caused by the constant abrasion, by allowing water to keep the process cool enough to avoid damage to the stone. This constant abrasive process delivers the desired result. As time passes, the finer abrasive tool causes the stone surface to slowly become a little brighter, until finally the stone surface has a high gloss finish. With some polishing techniques, a final buffing stage is used where the constant friction raises the temperature to “burn” the shine onto the stone surface. It is at this stage when the stone master can see his image as a reflection on the surface.
Many examples of polished stone surfaces can be seen all around us in this modern architectural era. My favourite place to view such magnificent polished stone surfaces is found in the Johannesburg temple where the floors and counter tops are clad with beautifully polished stone.
As we consider the painstaking process of polishing stone, we can relate it to our own life-changing and defining experiences. How the Master shaper of lives carefully and patiently polishes us to perfection – if we have the humility and grit to deliver the desired result. For many years I have observed faithful brothers and sisters go through the process of being polished and honed to take off the rough edges and remove the deep scratches from their lives caused by stony hearts and hard-headed characters. Such has been the experience also in my own life.
The Saviour’s invitation to one and all who suffer from hardened hearts, prideful minds, and strong-willed spirits is simple and clear, loving and kind – “be perfected in him” (Moroni 10:32).
He also invites us to deny ourselves of ungodliness; “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
When we humble ourselves without being compelled to be humble, we claim the blessings of a loving and kind Father in Heaven who wants to bless us through his son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. (Alma 32:14-16)
The Master polisher of lives is there to help us remove the deep scratches and work on smoothing out rough edges. When we do, we see miracles happen in our lives, we see the reflection of the Master's image in our countenance, and we experience the calmness that can come only from the atoning sacrifice of the Master polisher of souls.
As Alma, Saul, Peter, and Jonah experienced, we too may enjoy the smoothing effects of the atonement of the Saviour, Jesus Christ, and claim the blessings of everlasting joy. Sharing in the celestial glory with a Father in Heaven who wants us to return to him as eternal families.
Sometimes we find ourselves out in the wilderness, even adrift in a sea of doubt, tossed to and fro with no rock to cling to, strangers to the familiar voice of a beckoning call; “Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?” and “have eternal life.” (3 Nephi 9:13-14)
As we strive to live our lives in harmony with the Master’s teachings and allow him to remove the scratches in our hearts and polish our lives, we become shining examples of what true discipleship is – and demonstrate how faith in Christ can change even the hardest heart. Wonderful things happen when we exercise our faith in Jesus, and walk uprightly and say; ‘yea Lord, here am I, show me what I must do to live with Thee again’.
I testify of the living Christ, the Saviour of the world – that he lives and loves us, that our Heavenly Father loves us. I testify that faith is a verb and can only have an effect in the life of the doer of the word. I pray for peace in your homes and your hearts and for love and prosperity as you walk in faith.