Ancient Romans built impressive structures. Among the most impressive are sea walls and harbor piers that still stand after two thousand years. A study published Monday in, American Mineralogist, reveals the secret behind the concrete…and it also happens to be a great lesson for Christian living.
What is so impressive about Roman concrete? As written in the Washington Post, July 4 article, by Ben Guarino: “harbor concrete, a mixture of volcanic ash and quicklime, has withstood the sea for two millennia and counting.” One research engineer at DuPont recently called Roman concrete, “the most durable building material in human history.” Modern concrete, on the other hand, when exposed to seawater, corrodes within decades.
What’s the difference? Marie Jackson, ancient Roman concrete expert at the University of Utah, found the difference in “microscopic structures of concrete samples.” Roman concrete’s ingredients cause a chemical reaction, resulting in aluminous tobermorite crystals to grow out of a mineral called phillipsite.
The problem is that modern concrete is designed to ignore the environment while Roman concrete is designed to grow stronger from it. The crystals that grow in the Roman concrete act like armor, protecting it from cracks. Modern concrete fractures in seawater.
True faith is also designed to grow stronger by living in the world, not ignoring it.
In John 17:15, Jesus prayed to the Father: “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.” In Matthew 13, Jesus reminds His disciples that we cannot remove adversity from the world. Rather, He says (v30) to “allow both” (the wheat and tares) to grow together until the harvest.
In evangelism, we cannot ignore the environment we enter. Rather, we should learn from Roman concrete. We are designed to become strong, immovable, and faithful by entering a harsh environment.
Our true composition will be revealed and rewarded if we are in Christ and Christ is in us. He is the armor that strengthens our weakness. And if we build on the foundation of Christ, our work will remain eternally (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).