"I value unity because I believe we learn truth from each other in process." -Williams
“Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. . . Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind!" -Acts 4:32
1 Corinthians 3:5-15
“Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working. Or, to put it another way, you are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely.”
I was a specialty contractor for several years. I specialized in carpentry and general construction. Electrical, plumbing, masonry, and other work and specialty skills were not things that I could do well, nor did I have the passion and training to execute these tasks. Carpentry, however, was my choice job. I love working with wood and putting pieces together to create structures and finished projects that enhanced the whole job. The best projects were larger projects that I took part in, like renovations. I loved to restore and renovate old houses!
There were several whole home renovations that I participated in with my uncle John that ended in historical homes from 1923 being restored to their original beauty and luster. These renovations required my skills as a carpenter, but they also required the skills of masons, electricians, plumbers, painters, HVAC technicians, roofers, landscapers, floor refinishers, tile workers, dry wall people, bankers, realtors, and so on. It took a community of us construction workers to rebuild these homes. Not one of us could have sat on the sidelines and reproduced the same results of a finished project.
Discipleship is very much like construction in that it is communal. It takes all of us working together to make disciples of Jesus in our churches, in our communities, and in our world. In order for us to make disciples of Jesus Christ, all of us must work on the project in line with our giftedness, callings, passions, and resources. At the same time it is ultimately God that is at work and active in our growth and transformation. The person, or people, that we are discipling are being transformed and renovated, but so are we, the laborers. As we build, God builds and the transformation is a beauty and luster of what God had intended from the very beginning.
It is God, as Paul says, “Who is our foundation.” “Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ.” We are building on what God has already established and set forth. As His architects, contractors, and laborers, we use our unique skills and giftedness to build. We are God’s servants. We are his “Workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared for us beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).”
Discipleship is communal. It takes all of us working together to make disciples in our churches, in our communities, and in our world. Are we building? Are we planting? Are we watering? What are we doing to take part in making disciples of Jesus? Are we walking in the work that he has prepared for us? As we look at making disciples and as we look at participating in the great commission, what does our building look like? Can you see where your touch is needed in the life of your church and community? Can you see where the repair needs to be made, or the touch-up needs to happen, in the life of someone you know, love, and care about?
May we labor together in His grand restoration project and make disciples of Jesus together!
Haynes, Paul. Haynes Construction, Renovation pictures. http://www.haynesconstructionsite.com/historicrenovations.html , http://www.haynesconstructionsite.com/index.html, © 2009
Peterson, Eugene H.: The Message : The Bible in Contemporary Language.