January 29, 2013

Unless the Lord Builds

Psalm 127

Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
—Psalm 127:1


In his prime, the heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali became rather well known for saying, “I am the greatest!” Years later, while suffering the effects of Parkinson’s disease, he took a visitor to see his many trophies and awards. Pointing to his trophies, he reportedly said, “It ain’t nothing.”

In that respect, Ali had it right.

Life is nothing unless we live it with and for the Lord.

That’s the point Psalm 127 makes when it says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” This doesn’t mean we sit back and expect God to do all the work. At the beginning of a new year we need to look ahead and ask ourselves, “What would I like to accomplish in this year? And how will I go about it?”

But unless we plan with God, we will fail utterly. We need a higher goal than making a living, or getting ahead, or planning for retirement. We need to plan with God’s purpose in mind. As the writer of Proverbs states, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

God has a plan for us. We are called to be kingdom builders in this new year, each of us in our own way and in our own place. The question for all of us is, How will we use our gifts, our talents, our resources, and even our limitations to be a part of God’s building program?

Thank you, Lord, for inviting us to help in building your kingdom. Show us your plan, and help us to build with you. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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