Hi, this is Pastor Ken, I want to welcome you to my Thoughts on a Thursday Podcast where I take some regular occurrence or personal story from my life and connect it to a scriptural truth. So here are my thoughts on this Thursday, November 30thth 2023…Under Construction

About 20 years ago I fulfilled a lifelong desire. I built a house. When I say that, I don’t mean that I sat down with an architect and planned the size and shape of the house. I also don’t mean I paid someone to construct a home for me. I mean that I actually drew up the plans, submitted them to the governing authorities for approval and then personally put hammer in hand and built the house. From the footers to the ridge cap including everything in between, if it was a part of that house, I was the one who constructed it.

It was important to get each part of the build done right, but thankfully at each stage there are almost always allowable tolerances. Some level of variation is expected both in materials and workmanship. As long as the building is constructed within reasonable parameters, all goes well. Early on in the process however there was one task that was critical to everything that would follow. It was crucial for that particular job to be accomplished with incredible precision. There the allowable tolerances are as my grandfather (who was also a carpenter) used to say “next to nil”.

When it came to laying the foundation, the footers could be a little out of square or even less than perfectly level. They are poured wide enough that the block foundation can vary slightly from the centerline of the footer if need be to remain straight and true. The cement blocks can even be shaved if necessary to provide a perfectly level wall once it is completed. What has nearly no room for error is the placement of the initial corner block. If that one singular block is not perfectly positioned exactly 90 degrees to the corners perpendicular to it, nothing…and I mean nothing constructed on top of it will come out right. That one block determines the success of the rest of the project. In this day and age, it is the placement of that initial corner block that garners all the attention. In days gone by, however before the advent of cement blocks, the perfect stone also had to be found. A corner stone had to be one that had all of the necessary qualities to position it correctly and to build upon.

Furthermore, a good cornerstone is a promise of a successful building project. When you possess a good true cornerstone, you can build with total confidence that the entire structure will be strait, level and true because the corner stone is all of those things and it defines the foundation’s characteristics as a stable building surface. Certainly the integrity of the other building materials matter, but without the best possible foundation, beginning with the cornerstone, all you will ever have is problematic structure and a pending pile of rubble.

Ephesians 2:19-22 speaks of a spiritual building project. It says, Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

These days I am busy with a new construction project. This time I am not the architect, the general contractor or the builder. I am counted among the building materials. In a way this verse says that I am listed among the acceptable list of materials that are being used to build a holy temple. Essentially through the work of Jesus on the cross I have been invited to be incorporated into a house that is being constructed in His honor…for Him to live in. That house is being framed up and completed by my life and the many lives of others given to Him to use in His construction project. Our lives have been turned over to Him to use as He sees fit. The walls, and roof (our lives) are built upon the foundation that is made up of the apostles and prophets. In other words, those who were willing to follow God before we came along, and who were willing to express loudly the need for a temple like the one currently being fashioned.

This scripture also says that the foundation was laid with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone. Remember the importance of the cornerstone? It is the promise that a correctly constructed temple will be the result. Jesus set the direction so that the lives of the prophets and apostles could line up strait, true and level alongside Him. Without Him none of that would be possible. If it were not for Jesus, the Son of God, the temple would be constructed solely on a human foundation. The building process would have been flawed from its beginning and would eventually have become nothing more than empty ruins. Someday that house I built will degrade and fall down if it is not deemed in the way of bigger and better things, and bulldozed first. Either way, it was constructed by human hands…my human hands and will someday be on the ground again. Only those things built by the eternal God are eternal. That is why it is vital that Jesus be the cornerstone of His house, the church.

It is only as the entire building is constructed together based on the integrity of the Cornerstone that the project can be an eternal success. We are being fitted in. As you and I dedicate our lives to Him, He helps us discover our value as building materials in His church. I can only fulfill my purpose, and you yours in His building project to the extent that we align ourselves with Him. It is only because of His integrity that we can become straight and true. 1 Peter 2:6 says Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” As we trust in Christ, and follow His lead we will never be put to shame, meaning, we will be the best we can be as we allow Jesus to be our guide.

Occasionally when I have to go into the city where I built that house, I drive by it just to see it standing there. It is not a beautiful house; in fact, it is quite plain as houses go. But I like to drive by none the less to see the house that Ken built, it was after all, a dream I have had since I was a boy. When I am there I am reminded of many of the days during its construction when I would stop after a day’s work and step back and just look at what I had accomplished. I am convinced there isn’t anything wrong with doing that, but if you want to see something really spectacular, step back and look at the house that is being built of you. You can’t take pride in it because you aren’t the builder. Nor can you necessarily point to what your contribution has added to it, because without Jesus as the chief cornerstone, our contribution wouldn’t matter. What you can do is step back and be amazed at what God is building and the fact that He can make something so beautiful from such flawed materials!

So now, thanking Him for wanting to make you a part of His construction project, and being grateful for a perfect cornerstone to set the course of your life straight…go be awesome!