As I have been driving and jogging around Dargaville, New Zealand, I have been noticing something very interesting. Wherever building construction is happening, whether commercial or residential, the property is fenced. The fences are mandatory to restrict access so that people don’t walk onto the building site. On the fence are any number of notices, such as, “Keep Out,” “No Trespassing,” “Danger,” etc.
While some of the notices vary, the sign that you are sure to see is the one bearing the name of the company or individual who is constructing the building. I was told by some locals that being in the construction business here is a rather prestigious profession. Builders are proud to display their names on the construction site. They have a reputation, and people know what to expect.
This idea of builders displaying their names on their projects to let everyone know who is constructing the building prompted me to think about a passage of scripture in Hebrews 3:4-6.
4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
The passage tells us, among other things, that we are God’s house and God builds everything. Therefore, God is building us to his liking so we, like Jesus, will be confident, obedient children.
I think what I saw around the construction projects here can be used as a metaphor for what God is doing in the lives of those who have declared Him to be their Lord and Savior.
We are surrounded by a metaphorical fence, erected to protect us from a variety of things that might disrupt God’s work in us. While God is building the house, we still have the power to decide what we will allow Him to do. God will not force us to make any changes we do not want to make, but as the Master Builder he will point out to us things that would make our house better, as well as things that if left unattended could damage the house.
What I find happening to me from time to time is that while the sign on the outside says that God is the Master Builder of my house, I am doing my own thing on the inside without consulting the Master Builder. Worse, I tell others the construction they are seeing is God’s work when in reality I am doing my own thing! I think this is what Henri Nouwen was referring to when he made the following statement:
I love Jesus but want to hold on to my own friends even when they do not lead me closer to Jesus. I love Jesus but I want to hold on to my own independence even when that independence brings me no real freedom….I love Jesus but do not want to give up my writing plans, travel plans, and speaking plans, even when those plans are often more to my glory than to the glory of God.
I continue to strive each day to let the Master Builder build my house as He sees fit, as difficult as it is sometimes, because God knows best.
How about you? Are you truly allowing the Master Builder to build you? Or are you merely hanging out a sign that says Master Builder while you are doing your own constructing in God’s name?
Henri Nouwen interceded for all of us when he prayed:
Dearest God, help me to evaluate my motivations and actions in the light of your purposes and not be held sway by the advice of friends and opinion makers. Let me look to you rather than to others for guidance, for in setting that priority I learn to renounce my own will and keep peace with you.
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