Perseverance. Endurance. Staying power. All things that require us to keep moving. Keep doing….But our bodies and our hearts are breakable and weak. The heaviness of this life threatens to cause us to fold under the pressure. James describes it like this, “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:3-4)
The concrete buckets were heavy as we would hoist them up above our heads to another worker who was standing on a ladder close by. That worker would pour the full bucket into the hollow blocks. One after the next, after the next. The only breaks that would come were when the wheelbarrow of concrete needed to be refilled. We used those moments to rest in the shade, drink water and fellowship with one another. By the end of the day, our clothes, gloves and shoes were covered in mud, our hands were calloused and our backs were tired. But somehow, our hearts were full.
The Christian life and the building of our eternal home is hard work and messy. At times it can even be overwhelming and filled with suffering. In Galatians 2:20 Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
But we are called to join not only in Christ’s suffering, but also in His resurrection. I realized on this trip that no matter how caked on the concrete was at the end of each day, even the trickle of cold shower water would easily remove it. In the same way, the Living Water of Christ cleanses us of the dirt and grime of this world. Each day, His mercies come fresh each morning so that we are able to prepare again to build the Kingdom. One block, one bucket, one family, one child at a time.
Just like we worked as a team to raise up the walls of the four homes, so we must walk the Christian life, hand in hand with other believers. Fellow workers. Sometimes we are the one managing the process, sometimes shoveling the gravel, pushing the wheelbarrow, other times pouring the concrete. We all play a part. If one of us stops moving, if we decide the work is too hard or too sad, if we don’t persevere under the pressure, the whole process is at stake. Even when life gets heavy and we would rather just give up and give in, that’s when we are called to fight for our faith. When it’s not easy and God doesn’t feel close and burdens are heavy like concrete buckets on our shoulders. We must keep building.
Building these homes was a heavenly picture of the building of our eternal home, the Kingdom of God. The realization that there were four families waiting to move into the homes made me push that much harder to complete them. It gave me a sense of urgency. Much more than that, there are millions of lost souls around the world who are just waiting to hear the Good News of the Gospel and of an eternal home where “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4
So today, I will keep on lifting, keep on pushing and keep on loving with abandon. All in anticipation of joining all of those whom I love in an eternal home called Heaven. Where we will be able to eternally rest our once weary hearts in the love of the Savior of the world. The master builder.