Heritage Series: A Piece of the Rock

Back during the Golden Age of television (the mid-1950’s to late 1960’s) Prudential Insurance Company ran a long advertising campaign based on their catch phrase, “Get A Piece of the Rock.”  The corporate logo bore the graphic image of the Rock of Gibraltar.  This historic and geological icon stands at the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula.  For centuries the British have maintained control of this strategic site overlooking the narrow strait separating Spain from Morocco.  (To help draw the picture, imagine Morro Rock at the entrance to Morro Bay except many times larger.)  The British Empire for nearly a century ruled the high seas and part of that dominance was fortifying and holding key points along the world’s shipping routes and the Rock of Gibraltar was one of those crucial choke points.

Prudential adopted this logo because the Rock of Gibraltar not only represented strength and dominance but truly was the fort of strength, solidly entrenched, unmoving and eternal.  Thus, investing in Prudential Financial or relying on its insurance products was a choice anyone could feel secure and safe in making.   Anyone watching TV during the Golden Age was told to get a “piece of the rock” -- you can trust Prudential.

We welcomed back Pastor Tom Carter this past weekend as part of our Heritage series celebration.  He began by referencing 1 Samuel 7:7-12, the account of God responding to cries for help against the Philistine army.  In remembrance of God’s intervention, Samuel took a stone and set it up as a memorial naming it Ebenezer saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”  Pastor Tom spoke of an extremely difficult time in his long tenure in furthering the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  All during this excruciating stretch Pastor Tom would rely and rest in the strength of his rock, Jesus Christ, illustrating this point by referring to a large rock on a pedestal place in front of the podium.  As he spoke he often would pat the rock, his Ebenezer.  Pastor Tom had his “piece of the rock.”

Before the outbreak of World War 2, the British for a number of years had been readying the Rock of Gibraltar by constructing artillery batteries, strengthening fortifications and creating a series of tunnels crisscrossing the rock connecting all of its emplacements.  This system of tunnels and chambers protected British soldiers from being targets in the open air and provided safe routes to supply, reinforce and strategically move men and armaments.  Ironically, as told to me by one of my history professors, these tunnels and chambers significantly weakened the geological structure of the Rock of Gibraltar.  My professor believed that well placed bombardment would bring the whole system to a crashing demise.  This is a stark contrast to the image of strength portrayed by the rock.  Fortunately the German forces never invaded Gibraltar during WW2 which may have revealed the British were putting their trust in false hope.

The question today as it always has been is what or who are you putting your trust in?  With a life full of trials and tribulations choosing wisely and well makes all the difference in the world.  Build your house on the rock, not the sand, the rock of Jesus Christ.  Without fail, He has been the constant in my life.  With Him I can be strong and courageous.  Pastor Tom is reminded by his Ebenezer where his trust lies.  For 150 years and hopefully many more, GateWay Church will place its trust in Jesus Christ.  Whom will you choose?  In a play on words that I have loved for many years, do you have, “The Peace of the Rock?”


Bill YoshimotoComment