Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
There are two words that have stood out to me as I have meditated this passage recently:
I remember it like it was yesterday. January 1983. Pam and I were living in Tennessee. Praying about whether or not I should take an offer in Alabama to come to work here in the cotton mill…but mainly we were coming to pastor a small Baptist church that had dwindled down to about 7 people. Missy, our youngest daughter was less than one month old, I was out of a job, and I didn’t know it at the time, Pam was suffering with post-partum depression.
Standing in front of the mirror shaving early one morning the Holy Spirit dropped this passage into my spirit and I knew that I knew we were headed to Alabama. One of the first times I can actually say for certain, GOD spoke to me. It was so strong, I thought it was an audible voice.
It became the foundation scripture for my life and for that season and held us when everything crumbled around us just less than two years later.
If you are a young couple, wanting a house and building a house (especially for us as Americans) is one of the rights of passage into adulthood. Every man I know would love to have several acres of property he can call his own. And every woman wants a house she can call her own to nest in. And so, we buy…. we build….and we mortgage, and we decorate…we dream of doing more and having more and we feel fulfilled: for a while.
Then we start looking for something bigger…better….and the cycle starts again.
Home ownership is like having a to do list: there is ALWAYS something to “do”
But there is another house.
For a pastor it’s the house of God. For a worship leader it’s the worship that takes place in the house of God. For an apostle it’s the networks of ministries God has put under his care. For an evangelist it is also a network of churches he/she Can move among to help bring in the lost & backsliders and help build local houses of God. For itinerant ministers it’s the ministry that become the house.
For some pastors it’s the literally the building.
For the other five-fold ministries, it’s the ministry.
It all starts with a calling, and a dream. A huge desire that begins to drive us; a vision that continues to sustain us.
And when it doesn’t come fast enough, we begin to get frustrated and sometimes angry that God is not moving fast enough to help us see this dream of ours fulfilled and flourish.
So we resort to pushing, and shoving, and manipulating people, places, and things and stepping on other ministers, gossiping & ridiculing other churches all in the effort to make us look better, sound better, even dress better than the other guys.
Because bigger is better, right?
But unless the Lord builds the House, they labor in vain that build it…..
There is also another house to talk about. This house, this body, our inner man…this house is the most important of all the houses we can build.
When we stand before the Living God, He will not ask us how many churches we have built…how many sermons we have preached…how many books we have written…how many CDs or mp3s we have had downloaded from our website….
No! He will ask, what did you do with Me and the life I gave you? Did you allow My words to change you, transform you, build you up into the spiritual house I wanted you to be?
Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it….
Are you allowing the Lord to build your house?
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