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. (Psalm 127:1)
The passage above speaks to a great life truth; whatever you have in this world, whatever you gain, whatever successes you may have, no matter the size of your home or the wealth you may accumulate, it all means nothing without the Lord in your life. The reasons are simple, it won’t bring real satisfaction, and it’s all temporary.
This past Monday, a group from Cross Culture Church went to Tarboro to partner with the relief ministry, Samaritan’s Purse, to build new homes for some who were flooded out by Hurricane Matthew last year. These are predominantly the elderly and financially struggling families. They aren’t large homes. They aren’t fancy. But, they are warm and dry, and the families that move into them can call them their own. They are very appreciative.
We had a great time! It really is a wonderful blessing to get to minister to others. The folks at Samaritan’s Purse are great, providing resources and direction for what needs to be done. They just need folks willing to give of their time and energy. I hope that many more of us will be willing to go the next time we put one of these one-day mission trips on the calendar. Teams can even take their camping equipment and campout for a week on church property where Samaritan’s Purse is staging their work in Tarboro. It can be like a vacation and mission trip all rolled into one! (Bill Powell is our contact person for Samaritan’s Purse ministry opportunities)
Meeting physical needs is a biblical concept. It is a tangible and practical way to show God’s love to people. I’m glad we do things like this. But, we must never lose sight of the fact that physical needs pale in comparison to spiritual needs. The Master Carpenter, Jesus, said this:
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going. Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’ (John 14:1-6)
When we invest time, resources, and energy into meeting physical needs it is intended to provide an opportunity to share with others how their ultimate need can be met in Jesus Christ. A hungry person will be hungry again. Hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters will happen again. The people of God should always be ready to stand in the gap and meet needs. But, only Jesus can meet the need of forgiveness of sins and bring eternal life. Jesus is the only Carpenter that builds a house that lasts forever.
It was going to be a long night. Most of the disciples were probably gathered together. They didn’t know what else to do. They had been together for three and half years. They had been part of something special, or so they thought. Now, they didn’t know what to think.
They sat there saying very little, with only a candle or maybe two to give off a small amount of light in the room. That was fine with them. With a mixture of guilt, grief, and fear in their hearts and on their faces, they had no desire to see or be seen clearly. They didn't know if they'd ever see anything clearly again.The past 24 hours were a blur. There was the chaos in the garden, His arrest and trial, and before they even knew what happened Jesus was being nailed to the cross. Now His cold lifeless body was lying out there in that cold lifeless tomb.
Yes, it’s going to be a long night. Their heads were swimming, even as their hearts were breaking. How could they have gotten this so wrong? Why had the people turned on Jesus? Why had the disciples not been willing to stand with Jesus? What was going to happen to them now? One thing was for sure, sleep wouldn’t come easy tonight.
I guess it’s easy for us to think that the disciples should have realized that this was not the end of the story. They should have remembered Jesus telling them, on multiple occasions, that He was going to be crucified, but on the third day He would arise. That’s where their focus should have been. But, pain, fear, and feelings of absolute despair can create a sort of spiritual amnesia. They forgot, Sunday’s coming.
Perhaps that dark, hopeless Friday night so long ago can teach us a thing or two. In our moments of pain, fear, and feelings of absolute despair, when the world seems dark and the future is anything but clear, you and I would do well to remember, Sunday came.
In the early morning light of that Sunday morning, the light of the world came out of that dark grave to provide a bright future and a certain hope to all who would hope in Him. So, the next time we’re having one of those nights let’s remember, Sunday came and everything is going to be all right. Hallelujah, what a Savior.
Listen, you foolish ones among the people. You fools, when will you understand? He Who made the ear, does He not hear? He Who made the eye, does He not see? (Psalm 94:8-9 NLV)
“Our eye’s lens is truly a marvel of chemistry. It contains a very high concentration of protein molecules in a transparent water solution. This discovery amazed scientist, because protein molecules in water solutions are not transparent, but opaque. However, for the lens of the eye to work properly, it must be transparent. After much research, scientist discovered that the concentration of protein molecules in the lens of the eye is so high that they pack together like the molecules of window glass. This results in the normally opaque protein solution becoming transparent.
For how many years was an evolving creature forced to stumble around half-blind before random mutations happened upon the perfect protein, in the perfect concentration, to pack together in exactly the right way, to make his eye lens transparent? Why didn't natural selection drive the creature to extinction before the lens developed properly? Once again, Supernatural creation makes sense, while evolution leaves us questioning the logic of its conclusions.” (A Closer Look at the Evidence)
Dr. J. Clay Stevens is Lead Pastor of Cross Culture Church in Raleigh, NC. He is author of the book I Get It! Discovering How To Really live In The Promises Of God. His life mission statement is: "To take people from where they are to where God wants them to be."