So he answered me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by strength or by might, but by My Spirit,’  says the Lord of Hosts. ‘What are you, great mountain?  Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain.  And he will bring out the capstone accompanied by shouts of: Grace, grace to it!’ ” Then the word of the Lord came to me: “Zerubbabel’s hands have laid the foundation of this house,  and his hands will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of Hosts has sent me to you.” (Zechariah 4:6–9 HCSB)

In architecture and construction, a stable archway must have sitting at its peak a capstone, a specially shaped piece also called the keystone. It is placed last by builders because of its vital role in ensuring that the arch does not collapse. Symbolically, it is the most important stone in construction, being positioned at the top of a structure. In ancient times a capstone was also a large flat stone set over the top of a tomb, i.e., in the upper place of stability and protection. And in university education, many students take a capstone class or do a capstone project; like the capstone of an arch, this signifies the pinnacle of an undergraduate’s academic career.

Similarly, in anatomy the foot’s medial longitudinal arch contains a capstone, too. Looking from the medial direction, at the peak of the arch between the talus and the first cuneiform sits the navicular. Its protruding tubercle is easy to palpate, if you’d like to find yours. The navicular’s typical position in weightbearing is off the floor; that is to say, the medial arch should be evident. However, in someone with significant pes planus, or flatfoot, the navicular may appear to rest on the floor. In such a case there is no arch.

So, here’s a practical question to apply this concept: what’s supporting the arch of your life? Who or what is its capstone? Or, do you have spiritual flatfoot? Zerubbabel helped lead the Jews back from exile in Babylon, and he had directions from God to rebuild the temple, including placing its capstone. The arch of his life—his abilities, authority, and power—came from the Lord and nowhere else. Like a foot, you may try to maintain the structural arch of your life with musculature (strength) and ligaments (might). But, neither one of those can fully provide the necessary support without the specially shaped capstone sitting in its correct position. It’s not by strength. It’s not by might. No, the capstone is God’s Spirit.

-Jeff Russell

E-KardiaGram: Sports Performance Edition is produced by The Kardia Foundation in association with Athletes in Action Sports Performance © 2018. The Kardia Foundation.

We connect the Christian faith and healthcare, equipping Christian healthcare workers to integrate their faith and practice.

Contact: This electronic publication may be forwarded in its original format with proper credit given. Written by Jeffrey A. Russell, PhD, ATC

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