Grace sits amid a mess of colorful blocks strewn from one end of the room to another. She loves to “build castles.” As soon as she sees me she says: “C’mon Mama, let’s build somthin’ together!” And I fold my legs down to the floor to join her in the building project.
How can it be that this creative inspiration fills one so young? For it is not just building castles that Grace loves, but cooking projects and art projects and putting her imagination to work. For me it is one more window into the creative inspiration of our God. Being made in his image, we reflect His creative nature. In us exists this innate drive.
Our soul longs to create. We spend our entire earthly existence in “building” efforts. We build lives, reputations, families, relationships, careers, we design our homes, our gardens, even our personal “look.” Generally speaking for women that drive is to create something reflecting beauty. For men it is to build something sturdy with a legacy. But, for many of us, we go about these “building projects” alone believing the ‘self’ is the real creator. From our careers to our relationships, we can easily become slaves to our “projects.” In that slavery we lose our true purpose.
God designed us with a creative drive for a purpose. He is the one who gave us that desire to build. Ephesians 2:10 says: For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do… (NIV) Or even better, The Message translation of the Bible says He created us “to join him in the work he does….”
What does that mean? That means God wants you to build something with him! He created you for that very purpose! When God is not a part of our building projects we strive, but are never satisfied. Our hunger for satisfaction goes unsatiated and drives us to keep on building, hoping we can somehow create our own significance. God’s word says “Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.” (John 6:27, MSG)
I love that phrase—“guaranteed to last.” Aren’t we are all really looking for that? To create something everlasting? How can we find the authentic satisfaction and eternal significance we long for? We find it by partnering with God. God is building something everlasting and he wants us to be a part of it! What an adventure and what an honor!
What if we committed all of our “building projects”— from careers and financial portfolios to families, friendships and physical fitness— to be a part of the bigger project He is building? What if we did so joyfully and zealously!? I want to be like Baruch in the book of Nehemiah. The only thing recorded of him in the Bible is that he “worked zealously.” I want to be known for that! I want to be a part of the bigger project. I don’t just want to do something for God— I want to do something BIG. Have you ever asked the Lord: “Give me something bigger than myself to do for you. Here I am Lord, send me!”?
As we grow up we tend to lose that child like dependence and joy of working alongside someone bigger than us for something bigger than us. We want to be in charge. Yet, we are fooling ourselves! Philippians 3:3-4 speaks of the necessary humility: “We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it – even though we can list what many might think are impressive credentials.” (MSG)
Sometimes we think our life is too much of a mess for God to be able to build anything lasting from it. But I ask you, who did Jesus surround himself with? Sinners, prostitutes and tax collectors! Peter denied Jesus three times, yet Jesus said: “You are the rock on which I will build my church.” And he did… And we can do likewise, not because we rely on ourselves… but because we rely on Him. In our weakness, in our humility we find His grace…
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV)
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work…. (2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV)
Other times we sit back and do nothing doubting we are capable of this “bigger than me project” the Lord has planted in our hearts. We say it’s impossible—and we are right, it is impossible— impossible to do on our own! Yet, Jesus says “All things are possible with God.” (Matt19:26) We are never meant to go it alone! God wants to be right by our side. He promises, “I am with you” (Matthew 28:20)
It is God’s greatest joy when we commit our building projects to Him rather than ourselves. Our efforts for the Lord, even in their purest form are about as perfect in construction as our children’s art projects posted on the refrigerator. But, when these gifts are presented to us they become masterpieces, because they were made with love aimed to please. Our ‘works’ are like the castle Grace tries to build alone, lopsided and unstable, but with mom or dad alongside her it becomes a thing of magnificence.
Likewise it is God’s greatest joy to come alongside us and supply all our needs as we fulfill His true purpose for our lives! God takes our refrigerator art and transforms it into a priceless masterpiece. He guides our castle building projects from wobbly houses of cards to solid structures. When we gain a vision to build for something, someone, some purpose bigger than ourselves— that is where we find the real rush, the authentic satisfaction, that true eternal significance we hunger to build for!
I challenge you today to take time to evaluate your “building projects.” Who and what are they really for? Let’s be brave and humble at the same time— brave enough to ask God to give us something bigger than ourselves to do… brave enough to strike out and do it… humble enough to admit we cannot really succeed on our own. We need Him by our side.
Let Him be the master architect of every part of your life. The architect of the universe will take you and all of your building projects to cosmic heights. Look up today and say: “C’mon Lord, let’s build something together!”