My husband and I have been extra-blessed with the opportunity to build our own home.
Even more exciting is how our family has come around us to build it together, including my parents and my husband’s parents. It is the ultimate DIY project, and the whole family is involved.
I am constantly impressed with the number of details involved in building a house. Last Fall, I encountered the small detail of setting up a fence for our yard. The timing felt odd, but for various reasons, we built our fence before the walls of our house were even in place.
Our first task: digging the holes for the fence posts. Working side by side with my mom, we started breaking up the rock-dirt. That’s right, not rock-hard-dirt, just rock-dirt. Using a 40 lb. digging bar, we pounded the ground 4 dozen times, then scooped out the broken pieces with our hands. Each round removed maybe 1/4 inch from the hole-to-be.
Together, we focused for hours on one hole. Exhausted, sweating, and finger muscles throbbing, we peered down the intimidating row of future holes. There, on the opposite end, was my super-hero father-in-law, Steve, hulk-smashing each hole in a matter of minutes.
A feeling of relief and wonder, tinged with a little jealous frustration, raced through our tired bones. Realizing how useless our efforts were in comparison to Steve, we stepped out of the way. “Surely we could be more helpful somewhere else,” we thought. But our boss (which happens to be my dad) quickly reminded us to keep digging.
How silly we felt, how pathetic. But we persevered, finishing 1 and 1/2 holes by the day’s end. Steve finished 10 and 1/2.
This story is a perfect reflection of ministry. Every person who has entered into God’s family is a part of the epic family project of building a house: God’s house. We know, of course, that “unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1) But we also know that each of God’s children are invited to participate. Whether by leading through a paid ministry position, raising godly children, or reaching out to co-workers: we all have a detail to focus on.
Sometimes though, we see someone else making incredible progress in their ministry. These are the ones who rarely get drained by people; the Christians who have the perfect words to say every time.
We all know the guy who can naturally bend a conversation to focus on God’s love and plan of redemption for humanity. He hosts one Bible-study over coffee, and before you know it, 10 and 1/2 people have committed their life to Christ.
In comparison, you wonder why you keep fumbling over the “Romans’ Road” with your neighbor and his poodle. At a certain point, you just want to invite Mr. Incredible over to the neighbor’s and so he can gently Hulk-smash them into eternal life with Jesus.
I so often forget that God called me to pray for this person. God placed me, specifically, in a home next to theirs. Our Dad never asked us to be amazing, He just asked us to be faithful. To keep sweating over that one hole–that one empty soul that needs Jesus, no matter how hard the heart. He chooses to use the weak, the sweating, the tired and intimidated, to make a difference. “For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13 HCSB)
It’s a family DIY project, and each family member gets to be a part of building this house.