Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The stuff of building

I've been thinking lately about life and about construction. Yep, that's right. I've got buildings on my mind. Not physical buildings, mind you, but spiritual ones, if that makes any sense. Let me try to expound on that thought.

Today I was reading something Jesus said to the hoards of people that started following Him, maybe near the beginning of His ministry. His groupies. I think Jesus understood that most of the multitudes liked Him for His refreshing differences from the religious leaders of the day, for His miracles, for their hope for a Messiah that fit the image they had in mind. They didn't necessarily know what they were signing up for when they followed Him. I think that's why, during one such instance of being followed by such a multitude, Jesus turned to them and clarified what being a follower entails:

"...Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it - lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' " (Luke 14:27-30)

If such clarification was needed for those who wanted to follow Jesus while He was actually living on earth, I wonder how much more we need it today. When we can't see Him. How easy we make it to follow Him, how often we try to form Jesus into the image that best suits us or others. Rarely do we sit down and count the cost, to the point where we feel the weight of it, yet see beyond to the magnitude of the reward that far outweighs it.

And I wonder, when I set out to begin building on this foundation that is Christ, years and years ago, did I really consider what I was choosing and if I could finish well? I honestly don't think I did. I didn't really have a clue. It's something I have absolutely no desire to go back on - I love Jesus and need no convincing that He is everything I want in this life and beyond - but counting the cost has come over the years, step by step, not at the beginning.

Were I to survey my life up to this point with the eyes of a builder, I wonder, too, what I would see. A bunch of half-finished buildings? A tower in my honor? A foundation with not much on it? Are my hands set to building things that make a difference in eternity, that emphasize the greatness and glory of God? What, exactly, is my life constructing or adding to?

These are not questions that can be answered in a moment. I'm not even sure I have the eyes to see clearly to the answer. But I must try, I must pray, that God would give me vision to see - and more importantly, to build where He is already working.

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