Thursday, May 31, 2007

Biblical Advice on How to Build Anything

This is the first in a series of short posts that I've wanted to do for a while.

Here's what I've noticed - in one way or another, we are all engaged in building. Some of us are building in a very physical, literal sense - like a craftsman building furniture. Most others are building more abstractly - like CEOs building companies, pastors building churches or parents building families. As a worker in the marketplace, to some degree, you are likely focused on building your career.

The point is simply this - we use our gifts and abilities everyday to build, create and construct. As we do this, we may not often look to Scripture as the source of advice on how to build...(well, perhaps a pastor building a church would). Yet I've found that the Bible has much to offer us and over the next couple of weeks, I'd like to briefly share what I've learned about "how to build". None of what I'm going to share is particularly profound. (Let's face it - there's nothing new under the sun and certainly, it's not likely that you'll discover anything new or profound on this blog!)

Nonetheless, I find it beneficial to remind myself of truth and my hope is that you'll find it helpful to you as well.

This post will focus on the first point: Build like it depends on God. Whatever "it" is - family or ministry or business, build with a mindset that the outcome of the endeavor really rests on God, the Sovereign Master Builder.

Here's a passage that reminds me of this principle:

Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.


(Psalm 127:1)

What I love about this verse is the absolute humility it requires of us, to live in the good of this truth. In our culture of self reliance with its "take no prisoners, can do" attitude, this is a sharp reminder of our limitations. Unless God builds, our creativity and labor are in vain. This verse offers no consideration of how hard we might work or how much planning might go into our projects. It only makes the point that unless God blesses the work, our efforts will find no success.

This is not only humbling news, it can also be comforting. Seen in a proper light, it's strangely comforting to know that it's not up to us. We can work hard and work smart, all the while, entrusting the results to the Sovereign God, who carries His own glory and our good at the center of His will.

I also find it encouraging to know that if God blesses the work, we may accomplish far more than we thought possible. If God is leading and directing us, we can take on risky, challenging projects because we're entrusting Him to provide what's required for success.

10 comments:

mark said...

Another great post, Andre. This brings to mind my growing sense of how Jesus fits each of our efforts together like pieces of a puzzle. Ephesians 1 lays some of this out: "according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth."

When we take our eyes off ourselves and build like it depends on God, we get to observe the perfect mind unfold the perfect plan in the perfect time. To be a more active participant in this, I want to be praying "God, help me see your plan and walk in it more fully right now." This is yet another blood-bought privilege of life submitted to Christ.

I look forward to benefiting from this series of posts!

Ted Gossard said...

Good thoughts here, ESI. Good to focus on God's sovereignty in our work. Good passage to point us to, as well. And I think this can help us, in God to do works that will withstand the fire of judgment. Knowing success at least in God's eyes depends on God, we would want to do God's will in the process.

I do buckle a bit though over some guaranteed success formula. I know without a doubt that you're not advocating that here. You're simply saying that the end results depend on God, who is sovereign.

Thanks. And I look forward to more.

Every Square Inch said...

Mark

Thanks for your comment. Yes - thanks for adding to my original point by calling out the role of prayer. One measure that we're truly "building like it depends on God" is whether we pray.

I'm both encouraged and convicted as I think about prayer.

Every Square Inch said...

Ted,

No - there's no guaranteed success formula here from our perspective. If it reads that way, it's because I've written poorly.

Here's how the guarantee of success comes to play - if God builds it, it'll succeed because nothing can ever thwart his purpose. But He gets to define the parameters of what success looks like. It may not always turn out the way we think but we know from Rom 8:28 that it'll always be good.

HALFMOM said...

to add to your last comment ESI (being a stickler for never quoting 8:28 without 8:29 because I think you loose the context) - we have to remember that success is being conformed to the image of Christ - success is what brings God the most glory and THEREFORE is what is in our best interests

Every Square Inch said...

Halfmom

Excellent! Thanks for making the crucial point that ultimately, success is about being conformed to the image of Christ. Also, reminding us of the context of Rom 8:28. I have both v28-29 below (quoted from ESV)

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."

Mark Goodyear said...

It's so easy to accept a simpler definition of success. But the only success that has any significance is whether we are transformed into the image of our Creator.

Still, I imagine an entrepreneur trying to build a business wants to do more than conform himself to Christ. He or she wants to do both--conform to Christ and build a financially successful business.

Is it wrong to want both? Are they incompatible?

HALFMOM said...

wow - Mark asks a hard question ESI - I look forward to your answer!

Ted Gossard said...

ESI, No, you didn't write it that way at all. What you say is helpful and good, from what I can tell. I was just throwing that in. Thanks.

Every Square Inch said...

Mark,

Thanks for your thoughts and I'll ponder before answering but I wonder what everyone else thinks.

Halfmom, your thoughts?