Thought for the Month - November 2017
In Scripture we are shown how that, since the beginning of time, men have had a desire to build. Cain built a city to honour his son (Gen 4.17); Noah built an altar to the Lord in worship (Gen 8.20); men tried to build a tower to reach to Heaven (Gen 11); and Solomon built a house for God’s name. The Lord Jesus, too, spoke of building: “…thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” (Mt 16.18).
In the New Testament, believers are seen as being not only God’s building, but also builders for God.
Ambition. A builder will have ambitions for the edifice being designed and constructed. Is it not the case that we, too, should have ambitions in that which we build for God, how we build for God, and with what we build. The question posed through Isaiah still applies to us: “Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me?” (Is 66.1). Should we not have the spiritual desire to build up God’s assembly, and to strengthen God’s people?
Appraisal. There are several features to our building for God. The work must be for the Lord and not ourselves – Paul makes it very clear that the principle of service, whether secular or spiritual, is doing all as servants of Christ, “doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph 6.5-6; Col 3.23-24). Our service, whether we accomplish little or much, is for His glory not for our pride, and is achieved in His strength alone. Paul could look back on his life and, “before God and the Lord Jesus Christ”, he could say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4.1,7). What about us?
Assessment. For believers there will be a time of assessment as we appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Cor 3.10-15; 4.5; 5.10) when that which we have done for God will be reviewed, refined and rewarded, and “…every man [shall] have praise of God”. It’s not our assessment of what we have done, or even that of others, but His.
Finally, we have in the Old Testament two examples for our encouragement. The commandment of David to the people of God was: “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the Lord God” (1 Chr 22.19); and the statement of Nehemiah, admittedly in the face of opposition but still appropriate, was: “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build” (Neh 2.20).