Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on January 7, 2016, is provided by Joanna Tzen who was a long-standing member of Grace Covenant Church in Philadelphia.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“Building Not with Our Own Strength”
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. 2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Over the holidays, I spent time with my extended family that included a little boy who is about to turn two. One activity he enjoyed was building with magnetic tiles. He made a tower taller than himself, but it was top-heavy and started swaying. We expected him to delight with glee when it fell over with a big crash; possibly tears when it fell over because his creation was no more. What we didn’t expect was for him to hang on to the tower, standing on his tiptoes to support it. He whimpered, on the verge of tears, because he clearly did not want the tower to fall and was holding it up with his own strength.
We are not much different as adults. We often build things with our own strength, without asking the Lord for wisdom and guidance. This psalm was written by King Solomon, and during his reign the temple of the Lord was built. King Solomon knew what it was like to receive instruction from the Lord and build a house for His glory. The Lord Himself provided the materials and the labor for the temple through the Israelites and their neighbors.
By the end of the afternoon, the little boy had begun to learn how to rebuild after the tower fell down. It’s amazing how even at a young age, we can begin to depend on ourselves and that pressure can cause anxiety and worry. It is when the Lord builds the house that we can have peace because we trust the Builder. Even if we build on our own, it’s better to learn that what the Lord rebuilds after our creation has crumbled, cannot be shaken. Though what the Lord builds may not be what we expected (e.g., unanticipated career path, living in a place we’ve never imagined, etc.), know that it’s always better.
So this morning, take a moment to look around to see if we are building something of a value to us but without little or no input from God. A good place to gauge that is our prayer life, a lack of which indicates our independence from God. The road to recovery is the same today as the days of Solomon: repentance which begins with a prayer like this . . .
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to trust You more. Help me to see where I have built for my own glory and labored in vain. I want to depend on You. If you are dismantling something in my life, help me to see it as discipline from my Heavenly Father (Heb. 12:7). Help me to trust You as You build up a new thing in my life.
Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 13