Brick by Brick – Building the House
Ephesians 2:20-21 “He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now He’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone”
I was in carpentry for a while early in my work life and I remember working feverishly on a house and almost built it totally by myself. My boss came out to the job site the first morning of building this house and said, “I can’t get a backhoe, so we are going to dig the footing by hand (or shovel). I was just dumb enough, and hungry enough to say, “Sure, where’s the shovel?” So we laid out the measurements for the footing and I started digging. After about there hours I started thinking, where is my boss? Or where is the other part of WE?” My boss said WE were going to have to dig it by hand, and then he was no where to be found. I shrugged my shoulders and said, Oh well, and kept on digging. By 2 pm that afternoon I had dug the entire footing for the blocks or foundation to be poured and laid. The footing was 2 foot deep and 20 inches wide, so there was no doubt I was going to be sore the next day. My boss had a lot of other interests that took his time, so he didn’t show up until around 2:30 p.m. and when he drove up he was grinning from ear to ear. He got out of his truck and said, “I thought it would take us two days to dig this footing.” I said, “WE?” He laughed and said, “Oh well, now we can lay the blocks and keep going and now we are ahead of our time frame.” I went over and washed my face with some cold water and loaded up and went home, exhausted. What started out as WE turned into ME. I really felt deserted a little after noon that day. I knew that with someone else digging we could really get it dug quickly but my boss’s interests were elsewhere, but he stilled wanted the footing dug. He would constantly use the word “team” when doing something and then when the work started “team” was me.
That’s how some people look at the church and serving Christ. They will attend and say they are part of a church, but never invest in serving the Lord through that church. Like my boss they are members in name only, and sometimes not even that. So, the work of the church is turned over to a small group of laborers who become the “team” and keep the whole thing going.
If we are going to reach the harvest the Lord calls us to reach we are going to have to realize just how important each of us is to the whole process. We aren’t the “boss.” We are co-laborers for Christ and that position puts us in a place to not just look at the work being done and then leaving for our own self interests, but becoming a part of the building itself by doing the work of a servant. There will always be distractions we have to deal with, but the greater issue is not the distractions, but the heart. Perhaps believers don’t realize just how much we bring to the table in serving God. Of course, on our own, we don’t offer much as fallen people. But with the Holy Spirit in our lives our importance meter really goes up to the point of making a huge difference in “being the church.” The Apostle Paul wrote beautiful letters to the churches he planted all over the region, but it seems to me his letter to the Ephesians is a shining guidebook for how we as believers should be a part of the building of the church. In the above Scripture in verse 20 it says, “Now He’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone.” A friend of mine, who is a Calvinist, said a few years ago to me, “God doesn’t need us to get anything done. He already has it all planned out and we can’t change that.” To which I replied, “If He doesn’t want to use us then why put the Holy Spirit in our lives and conviction in our thinking?” We are “compelled” by the Holy Spirit to do the work of the Lord. It is inescapable!! Sadly though many believers have become “numb” to the conviction of the Lord and have in their hearts been able to squelch that conviction that brings them back to the core of who they are in Christ. Like my boss, they say WE, but get distracted by other interests, other things, and leave just when they could contribute so much to the house being built. Along with that, those who serve, even with right hearts, get a little disillusioned and the work suffers. Keep in mind Paul says we are not the builders, but we are the bricks used in the house to keep it strong and Jesus is the cornerstone. If we aren’t willing to invest our lives in the house being built, there will be gaps where there should be bricks and the house will suffer.
It’s time to quit letting distractions take us away from our mission as believers and give our “lives” to the Lord to be used to build His house. We need to put blinders on so we don’t get distracted by side to side distractions and we need to put in ear plugs so the siren call of the world cannot draw us away from what Jesus wants us to do. And as the writer of Hebrews said so well in Hebrews 12:2 – 3 “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners so that you will not grow wear y and lost heart.”
Maybe that is the main problem, we aren’t “considering Jesus” and all He did for our salvation, so the heart of gratitude and worship is being replaced with a heart of selfishness and pride. I believe if you will readjust your thinking and jump in the midst of serving the Lord, one day you will be able to step back and look at something that was built and say, “I know that house, front to back and my life is in that house.” To which Jesus will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The foundation is laid, the cornerstone is strong. Time to lay bricks….Uh.. that is you and me. When the Lord picks up your life (brick) and lays you in His house I’m sure I will hear you singing. “Take my life and make it useful for You Lord.”
The Pilgrimage continues…..