It’s not that I’m a complete dunce with my hands; I have plenty of experience with chain saws and brush cutters. I have been splitting wood since I was eight years old. And I used to be a fair mechanic. (Had to be in African bush – there was no one else around to do it.)
But I am a dunce when it comes to building something. Just look at the play house I “built” in the Congo for Susie (then 6 years old) and Annie (then 5) out of an old shipping crate. They were pleased with it, but no one else would have been. The Africans probably laughed behind their hands as they walked by.
So to do a meditation on a Psalm that talks of building a house seems a bit inappropriate for a carpentry-challenged guy like me. And to add to that, I am not even in sync with the second half of the Psalm and its quiver full of sons. I only have one (and he is half way around the world).
But the Word of the Lord is never inappropriate for any of God’s children. It was written for us, no matter what skill-sets or “non-skills” we might have. God knows, though it may take some of us a hundred forevers to learn it, that building a house or a family or a business – or a church – is in vain unless and until we surrender our skills and our tools to the Master Builder and watch in awe as the Master builds the house.
We may think ourselves capable. We may be proud of our education. We might have seen the effect our personalities can have. Thus we have learned to depend on our own strengths and abilities rather than humbling ourselves before the throne of our Sovereign and asking the Master Builder to take over.
Our God is the Master Builder (the Master Everything). If we stand in the way, God will not push us aside, but will leave us to ourselves and our human efforts. And it is vanity. It is in vain that we pretend to be capable in ourselves.
A frame house, maybe, for those who have some carpentry skills. But the Lord’s House? That is Another’s specialty, and I work at it in vain until I take off my ill-fitting carpenter’s apron, put down my tools and lie prostrate before the Holy One as a humble servant waiting for instructions. Or, to change the metaphor, until I am willing to be a simple screwdriver in His hands. That would be a great honor.
- Vernon Stanley
Freewill Baptist Church, Sutton, VT and their interim pastor Mark Heinrichs
The Townshend Church
Our churches to reach out with mercy to the poor, the widowed, the lonely, and broken families