Thursday, September 29, 2016

Choose Your Builder Carefully

Being a writer, my idea of manual labor is placing fingers to keyboard and letting them build words and sentences and paragraphs on the computer screen. But as I’ve mentioned before, I have great appreciation for craftspeople and skilled workers, whether they’re building a house, replacing a roof, pouring a driveway, or redesigning and renovating rooms.

As a dutiful husband, I sometimes join my wife in watching that wonder of TV magic, HGTV. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be “Fixer Upper,” with Chip and Joanna. They have a down to earth, folksy way of transforming residential wrecks into heartwarming homes. I don’t flip over “Flip or Flop,” and “Love It or List It” seems way too contrived, but the “Property Brothers” make a strong statement for sibling cooperation rather than rivalry.

If I’ve learned anything while watching any of these HGTV offerings, it’s that if you don’t know what you’re doing, or lack the skill, don’t try it. It takes the right blend of artistry and craftsmanship. More often than not, prospective buyers visit an assortment of fixer-upper homes that to untrained eyes look like nothing more than candidates for demolition. But because of their experience and expertise, the designers and builders can collaborate to turn domestic eyesores into showcases.

My wife and I have witnessed this firsthand while endeavoring to spruce up the home we’ve lived in for years. An expert in tile installation turned our bathrooms into sights suitable for a beautiful homes magazine. An interior designer took our vague ideas and changed several rooms into real eye-pleasers.

The key is simple: Whether you’re building or rebuilding, you want to use someone that definitely knows what they’re doing.

This is why, in my view, attempting to build a marriage, family, career, or an entire life makes little sense without consulting and relying on the Master Builder. Psalm 127:1 declares, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is in vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.”

Any structure – whether a single-family home, apartment building, shopping mall, or skyscraper – requires a solid foundation. And for one’s life, there can be no stronger, sturdier foundation than what God offers through the truths and principles He’s presented in the Scriptures.

Through the years I’ve gotten to know many business and professional people who have learned the best path to a successful, fulfilling career is following guidelines the Lord has put forth in the Bible. Marriages have been established, rekindled and saved through the power of Jesus Christ and biblical teachings. Parents have discovered there is no better pattern for being a mom or a dad than the example of God the Father revealed in the Scriptures.

As Jesus told His followers, “everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24-27).

Moral of the story: Use the right Builder, and build on a solid, proven foundation, and you can endure any storm in life. Without the right Builder, you’re constructing only sandcastles.

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