I get a little jealous of guys with pickup trucks who shop at Lowes. They come with their flannel shirts, tape measures clipped on their jeans, and they act like they own the place. They tuck their pencils behind their ears, wear work boots that look like they’ve actually been worked in, and don baseball hats that tell more stories than grandpas at Christmas.
I get jealous because I feel like a fish out of water at Lowes. Guys go there to shop for wood to build things like shelves, furniture, and houses. Actually, they probably don’t buy wood to build houses, but I’m convinced they could if they wanted. Guys go there to make their grass look like a putting green or their den like the Library of Congress. I go there to buy mouse traps and ant spray. It bugs me. Every time I walk in there I feel like it’s a matter of time before I’m found out. When I actually have to explain what I need to a Lowes expert I find myself using awkward terms and sayings like “Thingy” and “You know” while making hand gestures that make absolutely no sense. I’m just not a builder. Thankfully, I don’t have to be.
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe”
We (God’s people) are receiving a kingdom. It’s funny how often we talk about building. We build churches. We build ministries. We build businesses. We love building. “Let’s build something together” is not just the slogan for Lowes, it’s our slogan for life.
Why the great emphasis on building? In part, it’s to be remembered. We build to be known or to make a name for ourselves. We build to be relevant. Some build because we are entrepreneurs at heart. We may build because we want to make a difference for the kingdom. We love building so much that the thought of not building is unproductive, wasteful, lazy, or embarrassing.
You may remember a certain Presidential campaign speech that become fonder for the opposition when he announced, “You didn’t build that”. It struck a cord with many Americans who pride themselves on building. People who spend their lives building businesses, companies, a certain lifestyle, or a retirement portfolio were offended. It is, after all, highly offensive to suggest that what we have we didn’t earn or what we accomplished wasn’t due to our hard work and effort. Please understand, I’m not trying to make a political statement, but I am trying to make a biblical one. We are not primarily builders.
“I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant.” (Joshua 24:13)
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” (Ps 127:1)
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into the dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Cor 3:6)
Who is building? Is it me or you? No, God is the one building. Christ is the builder. God provides. God gives. God distributes. God grows. We are recipients.
We receive grace. We receive mercy. We receive a kingdom that can not be shaken. This is good news because what we build is shaky at best. Even the best of businesses run their course. The greatest of churches come and go. Our updated home improvements quickly become outdated. This is not so with life with God. He builds a kingdom that does not weather or pass away. His kingdom is not shaken or stirred.
What is our response to God the builder? We respond in gratitude and worship. Why gratitude and worship? Because what we receive from God is a gift from God. It’s not earned. Gratitude and worship comes when tired people rest their weary hands and feet. Gratitude and worship comes from knowing the job will be done with us, but not because of us. Gratitude and worship comes from knowing the project will be finished, it’s just not us who are doing the finishing touches. We respond in gratitude and worship because we have been set free from the need to build something memorable, impressive, or awe inspiring. We can set down our hammers and stop trying to build a name for ourselves. Instead we can gladly receive from God what is given by God. So, let’s go receive something together.