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Unless the Lord Builds the House

NOVEMBER 13, 2017

I have been a homeowner for 43 years which means I have been involved in many home improvement projects.  However, I will be the first to admit that I am not an electrician, a plumber, or a carpenter.  I have managed to work through many repairs or remodeling projects, but I have also turned to outside professionals when I was in over my head.  I have great respect for people who have those skills.  

I think this must be the same appreciation for building that guided King Solomon, the author of Psalm 127, who wrote the words:  "Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (NIV)  Eugene Peterson (The Message) paraphrases the verse as follows:  "If God doesn't build the house, the builders only build shacks."

Scripture contains lessons from great building projects.  For example, Noah, Nehemiah, and Solomon give us insights into how to build an ark, a wall, and a temple.  These biblical examples are full of lessons for builders, even for novices like me.  I believe that God calls us to be builders, even if we do not have the expertise in engineering, design, construction, or even maintenance.  Psalm 127 is part of a section of Scripture known as Songs of Ascent.  It is our understanding that the Jewish pilgrims sang Psalms 120-134 as they were ascending into Jerusalem.  They sang with glad hearts expressing undaunted faith in the God of Israel, the maker of heaven and earth.

I believe God is still in the building business.  Followers of Christ possess special gifts that allow them to be part of God's construction project.  Faculty and staff members at Christian colleges and universities join hands in constructing students (disciples) who can influence the Church and the world through leadership, scholarship, and service.  They see every student in every academic program as "under construction."  Christian higher education is at the heart of God's redemptive building project.

Christ-centered higher education expects the same "under construction" sign to hang around the necks of trustees, administrators, faculty members, and staff people as they grow into the effective builders that God has called them to be.  They are determined not to "labor in vain" or to "build shacks."

From one builder to another, we thank God that we are all "under construction."

Larry J. McKinney
Higher Education Consultant
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