Psalm 127:1-2 – “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. 2 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.” NKJV
Through my years of Christian ministry and service I have heard the statement, “doing a work for God” used and even “growing a church for Jesus” as though we were the ones building the church or doing the work independently of God. I know that was not the heart of what was being said but in a very real way, it detracts from the reality of the roles of man and God in the Kingdom Purposes.
If you remember in Matthew 16 when Jesus questioned the disciples as to who the people thought He (Jesus) was and Peter’s response when He asked, “Who do you say I am?” you find a powerful truth. Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus responded to that revelation saying, “…upon this rock (truth) I will build My church; and the gates (powers) of hell will not overpower it.” The thing we must always keep in mind is it is HIS CHURCH and HE IS THE BUILDER!
That makes the statement of the Psalmist even more powerful when He declares that UNLESS the Lord builds the house it is an exercise in futility to attempt to do so. That UNLESS the Lord guards the city the watchmen waste their time watching and warning of danger. It is futile to worry and fret over life’s problems and obstacles because UNLESS God is on the Throne of our lives, we can change nothing. But, when we know He is building, watching, guarding, and guiding we can sleep the sleep of peace.
Many have become frustrated over the lack of growth in a local congregation and pastors have resigned or been shown the door thinking that if they just had the right program or personality, they would have the dynamic growth equated with success. Could it be that they were not allowing God to build the house in His way and time? Could it be that the purpose of God was not or is not to make every local church a mega-church? Could it be that our definition of success, often defined in numbers and dollars is not God’s definition?
I truly believe that God has called me to be a “Watchman on the Walls.” I believe that I am to speak spiritually to and for our nation. However, I am wasting my time if that conviction is not coupled with the confidence that God is the one truly watching. If I am not echoing what He is saying and seeing I am nothing more than a clanging noise and without value.
I truly believe that God calls people to lead congregations and far too often that individual departs that local community before the time of God’s choosing. One of the most significant reasons, I believe, is because of a conceptual failure. That failure is the failure to truly understand and believe that building the church is not man’s responsibility but is the work of Christ Jesus our Lord through the Holy Spirit. Yes, He inspires men and women, programs, pathways, and endeavors but at the end of the day IT IS HIS CHURCH and He is the BUILDER!
Our nation is experiencing dark days and will likely experience even darker days in the months to come and we can lament over the problems, conditions, attitudes, and direction and we should be grieved and pray. But, unless we couple our lamentations with confidence that God is the one truly guarding the city or nation we err and become troubled in heart, mind, and soul needlessly.
Without God, we can do nothing but with God, we can do all things! There is no mountain too high, no river too wide no problem too great, or an enemy too powerful that He cannot handle. Therefore, if we can come to grips with our role as messengers, representatives, and manifestations of Him and His purposes and His as the Builder and Guard we will find the peace that passes understanding and enjoy the success He has purposed. Never deem success in number, noses, or dollars but look for the depth of spiritual commitment in lives being impacted for God’s Kingdom. I am not making an excuse for times of little or no progress, but suggesting that we look to the source rather than trying to be the source.
God bless you as you go through this day in Him!