Thursday, October 2, 2014
Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
Every day each of us must have an awareness that we are building something with the rising and setting of the sun. We are building a family, a home, a job, possessions---our life. Working hard to get a promotion, the next car, the kids in the best schools. Always looking to 'the next phase' to "better" ourselves. How do we view the most important things, eternal things----are we building those? How often we forget that the 'next phase' is really our eternal life. I don't want my earthly things to be in order, organized and looking "perfect" while my relationship with God and my eternal life are on flimsy ground.
So many people are focused on building things that do not last because of a lack of trust in our firm and tested stone---Jesus. Our eyes are on our own fears and failures and anxieties and our hearts are not built on our firm foundation, Jesus. Fear and lack of trust in God's absolute sovereignty and provision for us makes us look to everything but Him. So we build, day by day, and we pour into the things that we think will bring security. Suddenly a life was poured into school, jobs, hobbies, fun and entertainment, and in the blink of an eye life is over. We have then built upon fleeting and passing things, and suddenly faced with the reality of eternal life, we have built upon things that have rotted and rusted.
A life built upon Jesus, a firm and tested cornerstone, can never be pulled out from under us. We will come to the end of life knowing that in spite of ourselves and our sins, our hearts and eyes were fixed on Jesus, and not on earth. Our life was not poured out for that which was a false idol, but for Jesus, whom we can trust with our very life. If we each examine what our time is poured our for, we will most likely find a few things that we are putting too much emphasis on building.
In this culture, we tend to build children's lives around activities---preschool, classes, and sports galore. None of these are wrong in and of themselves. The overriding message and emphasis is on building up their accomplishments and 'self esteem.' At the end of a month with all of these activities more time was spent on those than on discipling and teaching children about God. Teaching them that their true value, and the true meaning of their life is wrapped up in God and His love for them. These children become adults who will then wonder if the meaning of life is in activities and accomplishment, and the cycle will continue. When we "break the cycle" by letting them know what is truly important and valuable, they have the ability to view their activities, talents and hobbies in the right perspective.
Careers are another huge time suck for our 'building' time. Hard work is poured into many careers to the sacrifice of the spiritual life and health. Promotions, achievements, recognition, bonuses, all will pass away. They do not go with us to our permanent home. Lives are spent building careers with the wrong motives----self esteem, self glorification and making money to make ourselves feel worthy. We can build a career for ourselves or a career to bring God glory.
Mothers can sometimes build our daily mothering around the kids activities, a designer house, our looks, achieving the perfect kids birthday party or striving for some sort of unattainable perfection. It's easy to pour effort into the external things that seem to matter but in the end aren't the truly important things. Pouring into our children's hearts and our homes with eternity in mind, as an offering to God that will last---this is what matters.
What will others see we built from our lives? A home, a huge bank account, fine cars, jewelry and the finest things earth had to offer? Or will they see a heart that was willing to serve, a faith that stood through the wind and waves, a life poured into children and family, a life of perseverance and trust in the One who promised to never leave us or forsake us?
Building on Jesus comes at a cost---a temporary one. We no longer are in control of our time, finances, or career. Our choices are now in control of the King of Kings. We can trust Him! We must know and 'count the cost.' Building on Jesus means an awareness that our life choices, our entire lifestyle will not be the same as others and every building decision will be taken to Jesus and guided by Him. Every day we are each builders. Whom we are building for---the world or Jesus----is up to us to decide.
“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ Luke 14:28-30 (NLT)
“To have faith in Christ means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity