Since August, I have been building an enclosure for a gas fireplace in the lower level of our house. We moved into our house last year and found out during our first winter here that the basement got too cold for comfort. So I did some research, drew up plans, and got a permit from the city for the project. Next I ordered the fireplace, bought the building materials, and found contractors to do the gas and fireplace work that required a license. Then I set to work on framing and preparing the walls. I have done plenty of home improvement projects before so this project has been a labor of love.
I bring this up because there are many lessons I’ve gained from building projects about living an everyday life of worship. Here are just a few:
- Like the Christian life, construction projects will topple without a firm foundation and solid structural support. Jesus Christ is the only foundation and strong tower on which we can stand. Everything else will fail.
- It’s important to use tools like levels and measuring tapes to keep everything straight and aligned. In the same way, we need God’s Word in our hands, minds, and hearts to assure that our lives are in line with His.
- We need to partner with other believers whose gifts and skill sets complement ours to accomplish the kingdom work God has set before us.
One of the daunting tasks I took on was to install the brickwork on the fireplace wall. I have helped others in the past with brick and stone projects, but this was the first time I would fly solo on brickwork. Thanks to my brother-in-law I was able to use a powered cutting saw designed for bricks and concrete. The brick came in both straight and corner pieces, each about six inches high and eighteen to twenty-four inches long. I found out early on in the project that many intricate cuts were required for the brick pieces to fit together. So I measured, measured again, and then prayed before each cut (the bricks were not cheap so I couldn’t afford many mistakes!)
To my dismay, some of the first brick pieces broke apart in sections as I carefully tried to cut them. My heart sunk as the dollar signs started flashing in my mind, and I feared the cost of this project would skyrocket. I stepped back and asked for God’s help as I successfully re-measured and re-cut the pieces I needed, then set the broken scrap pieces off to the side. I mixed the mortar and began the process of putting the bricks on the wall, course by course.
As I continued working, I got better at cutting the brick and soon came to an area where many small pieces were required. At first I wondered how I would be able to cut these, but then remembered the pile of the scrap pieces I set aside. When I checked them, I realized they were not scrap after all, but beautiful pieces that would work perfectly in these smaller areas. There are very few “scrap” pieces left as I approach the end of this project (see picture). God taught me that even broken pieces of brick could be incorporated into the wall to create a beautiful end result.
The same is true of us as we seek to live a life that worships God.
If you’re like me, sometimes we make plans, commit them to God in prayer, and start to work. Even when we pray and try our best, our plans can fracture or break apart, and we’re tempted to give up, fear the worst, or think things are un-repairable. Consider these Bible passages:
“There are many plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s plan that will stand.”
Proverbs 19:21, NLV
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9:8
God is able to take the broken pieces of our life and plans and weave them together into something beautiful. All we have to do is ask Him and allow Him to do His work in our lives and plans. What we consider scrap, God sees as precious building material that He will use at some point to complete His work in and through us.
“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
God bless you!