Are you building a life based on your personal and professional specifications, or are you building your life based on a “fearful” respect for God’s will for you? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
Years ago I built an addition to my home here at Beech Springs. As it required a foundation I had to dig down deep enough to accommodate the concrete footings on which a concrete block foundation wall would stand. There are two ways of building walls like this. You can do it with haste or take your time. Hastily built walls aren’t necessarily bad walls. As long as the footings are solid enough, the ground beneath the blocks firm, and the blocks are well mortared, the wall may stand for a hundred years or more. Since the work is eventually backfilled and buried up to the top tiers of blocks, mistakes here and there aren’t visible: so what the eye can’t see won’t be criticized. However, my wall could not be built this way since the building code required an inspection of the wall, footings, and blocks prior to backfilling. Ultimately, I was building the wall out of a fearful respect for the inspector, Gordy, and not for myself. I was motivated to follow his specifications that called for a tamped trench, a 6” thick, poured footing, and 3/8” mortar between block surfaces. Either way the wall would stand, but if I wanted to put a house on top of it there was only one way–his way.
Who’s the boss of your life? Are you building a life based on your personal and professional specifications, or are you building your life based on a “fearful” respect for God’s will for you?
Here’s a story. Writer and historian David McCullough in his book Mornings on Horseback tells this story about young Teddy Roosevelt: “Mittie (his mother) had found he was so afraid of the Madison Square Church that he refused to set foot inside if alone. He was terrified, she discovered, of something called the ‘zeal.’ It was crouched in the dark corners of the church ready to jump at him, he said. When she asked what a zeal might be, he said he was not sure, but thought it was probably a large animal like an alligator or a dragon. He had heard the minister read about if from the Bible. Using a concordance, she read him those passages containing the word ZEAL until suddenly, very excited, he told her to stop. The line was from the Book of John, 2:17: ‘And his disciples remembered that it was written, ‘The ZEAL of thine house hath eaten me up’People are still justifiably afraid to come near the ‘zeal’ of the Lord, for they are perfectly aware it could ‘eat them up’ if they aren’t one of His. Our Lord is good, but He isn’t safe.” (David McCullough.)
In Luke 14:28 Jesus gives us instructions on how to be about God’s specifications for our lives. “‘Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?’” Here Jesus is implying that we can build our lives on what we want or base the cost of our investment on what God requires. I had choices when I built that foundation wall for my house. I could do it my way, save time and still have a pretty good wall in the end, or I could build it the way Gordy required it to be built. It would take more time, but it would please Gordy and allow me to finish the project and achieve my goal, occupancy. The key was to keep Gordy out in front of me throughout the construction process. A lot of pride went into the project, but my pride was by necessity focused on meeting Gordy’s requirements, not my own. I did have pride in my work, but it was tempered by a deep respect for the building code that brought the project to completion. My zeal was in the code–Gordy’s code. Similarly, God has a zeal for how he wants our lives lived. Follow his lead with zeal and he will give us occupancy in heaven some day. Follow our own and we may end up as nothing more than an item on his divine menu. There is only one way to build a life–God’s way.
We pray. Thank you Lord for providing instruction in your Word for how we ought to live our lives. Forgive us Lord, when we cut corners in this life, rely on our own idea of how to live and why, thereby putting ourselves in danger of living for ourselves and not for you. May we always regard your will for us with a fearful respect and awe. Your zeal is awesome, lest we ever forget that at our own peril. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry abo
ut tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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