Wednesday, June 9, 2004
We have this one immortal photo of our youngest son. We love to look at it! He hates for us to resurrect it. It was taken when he was three years old. He was in the yard and we had set up a tent back there. And apparently, well, he wanted to help. So, as we watched out the kitchen window, he started moving poles and trying to drive stakes deeper. Then he got inside the tent and explored a little bit, and then he decided one of those tent poles needed to be better positioned. Of course, he wasn't old enough, he wasn't experienced enough to mess with what holds up a tent. So, he picked up a pole - you're probably already ahead of me here, aren't you? - and in one very sad moment, the tent came crashing down. Now about the photo: here is this very sad little boy, holding a tent pole in one hand, holding his head with the other hand and his face showing this pitiful mixture of fear and bewilderment. Poor guy! He had worked hard on this, and it just collapsed around him. I know the feeling.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Wrong Builder."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Psalm 127:1. It explains how you and I are supposed to be getting things done and why things collapse when we do it wrong. Or more accurately, when the wrong person is doing the building. The psalm says, "Unless the Lord builds the house, its laborers labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat - for He grants sleep to those He loves."
This is a psalm for a hard-working, hard-driving man or woman ... the kind of person who builds things, who runs things, who makes things happen. Frankly, it's for people like me and maybe you. We see that things aren't moving. The problem isn't getting solved. So our answer is often to work earlier, or work later or work harder to make things happen. And we tend to totally unbalance our life because it's up to us to get it working. That stress causes us to fall into neglecting our family, neglecting our sleep, neglecting our time with the Lord, and neglecting our Sabbaths. Work, work, work, but our tent is still falling down.
But the Lord isn't saying, "Work more." He's saying, "Trust more." Maybe you've been acting as if you're the builder. The reality is that the Lord uses your efforts, but success doesn't depend on your efforts. Jesus said you're just a branch. The results come through you, not from you. He's the vine. He produces the results, not all of your frantic efforts. He builds the house, not your day and night working. So often our frantic efforts are really a display of pride or sinful self-reliance - "It's all up to me." That's wrong.
Maybe God wants you to hear this today because you've been depending on your efforts, your strength, your work to build something or someone - and it isn't working. The hurrieder you go, the behinder you get. Why don't you slow down a little and quit acting as if it's all up to you. If the Lord builds it, it won't fall down. And you won't be left standing there, holding a pole in one hand, your head with the other, and your face with a bewildered and confused look.
You're messing with what should only be touched by the hand of God. Maybe the project isn't coming together because you're depending on the wrong Builder.