Building God's People

Last year, I decided I was going to extend my home. Living alone, this seems a strange thing to do. I am unlikely to start a family at my age, yet it was a decision taken prayerfully. I had saved up the money and wished to have a home able to hold more people. Though a poor cook and a modest host, I desired my home to be a greater source of blessing to others.

The back yard was demolished, deeper foundations dug, breeze block and stone walls erected, a roof added, then plaster, paint and carpet followed.

It was completed on the day my mother died; I recall taking photographs to show her, and then realising she could not longer see them, just before I pressed ‘send’. In the summer, I recall telling her that they had built the first four feet of wall. She asked me if a family of hobbits was planning to move in, and then fell about laughing for several minutes at her own joke. I find it funnier now than I did then.

I’ll be honest- the whole thing was pretty horrible: extra costs, delays sourcing raw materials, demands from the building inspector, dust and more dust. Yet on Christmas Day, I was able to open up my home and have round church folk for food and drink, some of whom would have otherwise been on their own.

I have left neither land nor money, so the prospect of ever engaging in another building project is mercifully low. Yet the apostle describes the Christian Church as a building site in 1 Corinthians 3:9-10:

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.

Individually, we are blocks of stone, buckets of mortar and bags of sand. Yet the Master Builder combines the various materials with skill and knowledge, transforming them into a structure worthy of His habitation and to which His name may be attached. The building process is dirty, complicated and expensive, but the end result is worth it.