Get Adobe Flash player

Builders & Watchers

Life is a Full-time job – Builders and Watchers

Last night, as I wrestled with the lessons God is working in my life, He gave me a bigger picture:

Mike and I have built two houses as owner builder (and subcontracted some amazing people to perform various parts of the process). When you hire a contractor, they have to build into their bid a risk factor: increase in materials, possibilities of problems, etc. As an owner-builder, you assume all the risk and pay workers based on their actual time – whether it was more or less than you calculated. We have remodeled several houses as well, and if the truth be told, I have remodeled countless times in my dreams. This analogy is also appropriate for building a business or building a life in general.

So the picture God gave me was of this process. These two processes are similar: building and remodeling, except that in a remodel you often have double work: removing the old before building the new.  I am going to use the term building for both in this picture.

First you evaluate current resources with a plan: what are the features of the land: trees, hilly, flat, well, septic, power, current structure, etc. Next: what financial resources do you have available? And finally, you research plans to best utilize all of the above. For example, in colder regions you might face windows towards the south and west to utilize passive solar through the winter sun, or if view is important to you, windows will face that direction.

The picture God gave me last night is that Life is a full-time job. Duh, that should be obvious… but is it? 
There are those who spend their life watching and critiquing others rather than building the life God has called them to build. Some will even lie and deceive because if they can’t build, they want others to join them in failure.

During the building process, there are often those friends who have experience in the trade and can offer helpful ideas, hopefully they are also the ones who come alongside with a hammer or shovel and help build. There will those who bring their lawnchair and offer constant commentary and advice: some helpful, some not so much. While there are many who stand there and watch you work, there will be a few who come and say, “how can I help?” There will be those who jump in and do what they think needs to be done without plan checking and sometimes leave you having to redo that which they’ve done. Ultimately, the only person who has the whole picture is the builder: they know their own financial resources and all the intricacies of the plan… not all advice is good or feasible physically or financially.

While you are working: sweaty, dirty and exhausted, and those well-meaning friends who are leaning on their shovel suggest you should do this or that… or snipers tell you everything they think you aren’t doing right, you sometimes stop work to reassess your plan, but most of the time, you’ve already taken all that into account. If you have to realign resources, that means you are taking away from other parts of the plan. There are some things that can be done later, some things that you can cut costs on, but there are areas that you should NEVER NEVER NEVER cut costs on (Ie the foundational portions of the plan).

There are those fence dwellers who spend all their time leaning on the fence watching you work and telling you what you are doing wrong. They don’t bother to work on their own house/yard.

Sometimes it’s hard to know which advice is which: fence dweller or qualified builder. Check the plan, does this undermine the foundation in any way? Is it cost-effective? Does this person know what they are talking about?
Somehow this brought the picture of Home Improvement where they are talking over the fence to Wilson. Wilson was a neighbor with knowledge. But what about the neighbor on the other side who has let their house deteriorate, or hasn’t even started the planning process? Is it wise to take advice from someone who lives in corner of a house built by someone else and has not been able to maintain even that corner? There are builders and there are those who have no idea the tools and resources required for such and undertaking. The Bible says we will know them by their fruit, in this visual: we will know them by the home and yard.

There are times where we assist or trade labor to best utilize the resources available. There are times we assist those who are unable. With children, we daily give them more tools and teach them to use those tools, to develop problem solving skills so that there is a time when they can leave the shelter of their parents’ home, transition from milk to meat, and build their own home. While we help each other in season, ultimately we are each responsible for our own building, our own yard and should invest significantly more time in building that which God has called us to than trying to supervise a building project of which we only have limited knowledge. Utilizing the skills and expertise of others is wise… chasing plans and advice of those who have no skin in the game, who have no experience to offer qualified advice, is to turn away from the building which God has planned.

If we build the house which God has designed and plan-check with Him, He will reveal what course changes are helpful and feasible and those which are ideas without substance. Sometimes we are bombarded with distractions that they bury you, you become weary. For every helpful friend, there are dozens more who would overwhelm with criticism because they have no knowledge of the plan, the resources and the direction that God would go with this project. 

We EACH have a building – for some it is a house of prayer, for some a house of hospitality, for some a house of teaching… there are as many houses as there are gifts. We can only build upon that foundation of Jesus and the gifts He has given to each of us…

Praying constantly to be attuned to God’s word, with ears to hear that which is from Him, and the discernment to know that which is not.

Deeper Still:

Hebrews 12:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Race of Faith

12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the [a]author and [b]finisher of our faith

Philippians 3 Pressing Toward the Goal

12 Not that I have already attained,[c] or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have [d]apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Luke 14:27-35 New King James Version (NKJV)

27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? 

1 Corinthians 3: 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 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. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.


Matthew 7:24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

Acts 17:11 [Full Chapter]

These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits.Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Matthew 7

Ecclesiastes 10:18 New King James Version (NKJV)Because of laziness the [a]building decays,
And through idleness of hands the house leaks.

Proverbs 24:27 Prepare your outside work,
Make it fit for yourself in the field;
And afterward build your house.

Proverbs 14:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

Psalm 127 Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.