Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain. (Psalm 127:1)
If you want to build a house, where do you begin?
This fascinated me, and frankly would have terrified me, had I not hired expert builders to execute the design drawn by the architect. They had cleared the lot, surveyed the site, made the measurements, and poured the foundation. Now they brought in the crane whose job it was to lift the segments of “superior wall” into place. Condition Critical: the location, position and seating of the first one which would form the northwest corner of the structure. The integrity of the rest of the house depended on the placement of this “cornerstone.”
If you want to build a sturdy house, you begin by laying the cornerstone precisely. From there, with due diligence, accurate measurement, and careful attention to detail, the rest of the house takes shape. In due time, the structure becomes its design; the house in two dimensions unfolds into three. When we move in and bring our lives with us, it’s 4-D! The cornerstone, hidden yet bearing the structure’s weight, holds it firmly in place even as heavy rains, high winds and broad temperature swings threaten to undo it.
Life is like that. If we seek to build a sturdy life we need to attend to the selection and placement of our cornerstone. It is upon this that everything else is laid.
Who or what is your cornerstone? Have you placed it at the intersection of your household, your family, your life and its work?
In days of old, it was written, “God’s people and also members of his household built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:12-22a)
While the home built for us is a sound structure and carefully crafted, it is not a holy temple in the Lord. That designation is offered to each of us as we, in Christ, are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22b)
Day by day, as we get to know our neighbors, become part of our community, maintain our home and welcome family and friends, we exercise the spirit within us to help it grow strong and steady, just like our cornerstone. With Christ as our “superior wall,” what’s built upon it is a very fine house.
“That house is new, but it looks like it’s been there all along,” we observe on our way by.
That lot has been vacant for some time, but now it has a house on it. And it’s a beauty! Fits right in with the other houses on the street — quiet, residential, tasteful, landscaped, cared for, planned for, wanted.
How many vacancies are in our lives? Where we
- wished we hadn’t said …
- regretted having done …
- missed our chance to …
Oh, the empty lot. If only we had seen it, grasped it, filled it, acted on it. If only we’d put our deposit down, things would have been different.
But wait. This house, set snugly in its perfect place, suggests that maybe I still can. Houses need not be built one after the other. When plans were drawn up, a lot was prepared and set aside for me. “Don’t let your regrets prevent you from building,” it seems to say. “Forgive yourself, all of these, as I have already forgiven you.”
He has prepared a place for the very you who didn’t, should have, or shouldn’t have, now that you are.
People will pass by and say, “My, what a lovely home. Quiet, residential, tasteful, landscaped, cared for, planned for, wanted. It looks like it’s been there all along!”
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? ~ John 14:2
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” ~ Matthew 7:24-25
Towers topple, but mountains stand, even in a storm.