Are You a Stepping or a Stopping Stone?


Without warning the large stone broke free and rolled down the short hill and onto the road, blocking all traffic. This was a stopping stone for anyone traveling that particular road until crews could come and remove the large stone. Heavy equipment was brought in to remove the stone. One company that assisted in the move was a stone landscaping company.

Once the stone was moved from the roadway the company agreed to break it down into smaller pieces and move it from the side of the road. Two months later the large stone was now in pieces about 12 to 20 inches across and 2 inches thick. 185 of those pieces were donated and used to line out a pathway in a local park from the parking lot to shelter. The large stone, once an obstacle, became steppingstones for a better trek for all to use.

In life and in leadership we have a choice. We can be a stopping stone or a stepping stone. The first one hinders people from becoming what they could, from achieving their purpose. The second assists people and provides a walkable path to their full potential.

The way you treat people verbally, mentally, physically, and spiritually affects their emotional being and their perception of the road ahead. Always speaking to and addressing people negatively is similar to rolling large stones into their path. Whether it be harsh cruel language, repetitively telling someone they are not good enough or excluding them due to education, size, ethnicity, or looks, these are all negative input into the minds of those you lead or interact with. When we do not give what is needed to succeed, we become stopping stones.

Not only what you do, but what you do not do will also make these negative deposits. When we neglect to encourage a loved one or someone we lead, we are planting negative thoughts in her head. Therefore, we are rolling large stopping stones in front of her. Instead of stopping stones, we need to be laying steppingstones for those around us – those we lead and those we love.

People need words of encouragement, acts of reassurance, and touches of inspiration. Ask yourself, “What brings me the greater satisfaction to keep moving forward?” Your thoughts will likely include being recognized for your accomplishments. While normally we do not strive for recognition, God has built within us the innate desire to receive acknowledgment.

What will you do this week to lay steppingstones for those you lead and love? What will you say, what actions will you take to assist others? Not only words of encouragement, what steppingstones can you lay to help others on their path to fulfilling their God-given purpose? Don’t be a stopping stone, be a setter of stepping stones!

George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at

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