Thursday, March 19, 2009

Faithful to Build


We use the word building in a number of contexts in the course of our daily lives. It is mostly in reference to either the noun variety of building, but can also be the verb. If we consider these concepts…the building that is a noun is – a place made of wood or brick, a structure that is complete and serves as a place to live, work, eat, play…you name it! The building that is a verb is a process. It is a course of work and somewhere on that course, usually between point A and point B, is the builder. When a carpenter begins to build a house…he makes a plan, lays the foundation, moves to the walls, and goes on from there. It is a process, and every part of it is important.

These concepts can apply to many matters in relationship to life – including church. As I have shared before, we talk about going to or meeting at church. This is an interesting misunderstanding. In actuality, we are church that goes to building. The building is not the church…the people are. But, because of cultural contexts and semantics, it is easy to get this confused. As church…we need to be concerned about the building. We need to take care of the noun variety. There needs to be regular upkeep and updating. These matters are important. But, it is far more important to be building church…as in the verb variety. We need to spend time building people. Paul talks about equipping the saints for service (Ephesians 4:12); this is precisely what we need to be doing…and are seeking to do.

We can look to Nehemiah for some good lessons in rebuilding and in building. There are some important things to learn from him. Preparation is necessary no matter what projects we choose to undertake. Nehemiah understood just how critically important it was that he prepare to return to Jerusalem. He approached his efforts with prayer, preparation and proper communication. As we see with him and as we learn in life, the better the preparation, the better the results…whether remodeling projects, sermon preparation, rebuilding the wall of a city, organization. It does not work any better to measure once and cut twice in relationship to church projects or organization than it does in carpentry. I think that it is easy for us to get or to be impatient in relationship to what God is doing in our lives individually or collectively, but we need to wait on Him. He is not slow to help us or to reward us for waiting on Him to do His work. Much more damage is done by running on ahead of the Lord, than waiting on His wisdom.

The story is told about a sailor who found himself shipwrecked on a South Sea Island. He was seized by the natives, hoisted to their shoulders, carried to their village, and seated on their throne. Little by little, he learned it was their custom each year to make some man king for a year. He liked this tradition a lot – until he began to wonder what had happened to all of the former kings. Soon he discovered that when the king’s one-year kingship ended, he was banished to a nearby barren island, where he would then starve to death. The sailor didn’t like this idea at all, but he was smart, and decided to enjoy his year as king. Meanwhile, he was putting his carpenters to work making boats, his farmers to work transplanting fruit trees to the island of exile, and other farmers growing crops there, as well as masons building houses on the island. When his kingship was over, he went not to a barren island, but to one of abundance. Blessings,


No comments: