I like to believe, pretend really, that I am a great builder of wonderful things. Indeed, I once built a laundry table which stood the rigors of extensive use and the test of time. It held up to one use and completely fell apart after little more than five minutes of existence! I once built a birdhouse that I am convinced no bird used because the backyard building inspector, the raccoon who lived in the tree next-door, posted a condemned sign on it! The trouble for me seems to be that I get a picture in my mind of what the thing I am building is going to look like, and then I move right from my idea to the end product. Having never been trained well in the art of woodworking, I seem always to skip several steps along the way. I have an idea of what I want my project look like, but I am simply unschooled in the steps necessary to get there.
But you know, the best projects that I have ever built, I did not build alone. Recently, my two youngest sons and I sat on our picnic table in the backyard and crafted a birdhouse which rivals any in existence. At least to us it does. We took our time in the building of our birdhouse. We followed the instructions that had come with the birdhouse kit – instructions which had been written by an expert builder of birdhouses, no doubt. We talked and laughed as we built. We took breaks to sip drinks from our juice boxes. We built a wonderful birdhouse and later enjoyed painting it together. It was great.
We built more than a birdhouse that day, though. We built lasting memories. As we nailed in the boards of our birdhouse roof, we likewise nailed in a securing fastener into the love that we have for one another. As we took time to read the directions, we also were spending time doing it together. You see, my trouble with building is on many levels. I seldom take the time to invest myself into the instructions. I often rush to get done. I routinely fail to ask the advice of others who know more about building wooden projects than I do. Friend, you and I often play out the same folly in the building of our families, our relationships with friends, and our relationship with God.
How many times have you and I rushed through time with our children, not taking watchful care to reflect on what it takes to raise healthy children? How many times have we pretended to listen to our husbands or wives, all the while absent from the conversation in our minds; thinking about something else altogether? There are those who say that quality time is the most important. Perhaps it is, but how will we ever spend quality time if we don’t spend the quantity of time needed to build our projects of family, friendships, and relationship with God? In Psalms 127:1 the Bibles says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” (NIV)
The Lord has given us the blue print for building our lives. It is found in the pages of the Bible! The Lord has instructed us to slow down, think about what we are doing with our lives, with our time. Do you labor in vain? Do you substitute quantity time with family, friend, or God for a few passing, fleeting moments of insipid half-hearted interest in the real work of building your life and the building up the lives of those you love? If so, my friend, while breath remains in your lungs, there remains time to slow down, carefully consider the manner of our building, and choose to build as a co-laborer with the lover of our souls, Jesus Christ who even now offers the superabundance of the love and grace of God, freely to all who will receive it.