move over Bob the Builder

2015-09-28 11.25.34I have acquired a new skill. I am now a construction engineer, having built a building. Those who know me well will be somewhat surprised that I have acquired this new skill and hopefully impressed at the results. (The picture of the shed here is the said construction).

Of course my construction engineer skills and qualifications are a bit ropey. I had to follow a set of instructions that came with the components for the shed that had been delivered to our house. At times the instructions weren’t as clear as they could have been, sometimes the components didn’t fit together quite as well as they should have, and in a couple of occasions I had to improvise. However at the end of the process there is a small shed in our back garden that has not fallen down (yet). And I have a sense of accomplishment (and perhaps a little bit of pride – not too much, just enough to allow for a little ostentatious humility when people compliment me on it).

If I had not had the components premade and the instructions to try to follow there is no way that I would have managed to build a shed that was anywhere near the quality of the building that now graces our back garden. I did once build a bin store from scratch, although that did involve buying a premade fence panel, cutting it down and rebuilding it before putting the corrugated plastic roof on so, on reflection, even then not everything was built from scratch.

There are some people who have the skills, experience, talent, vision and desire to design and construct things from scratch. Most of us need a little help (or a lot!) and simply stand back in admiration and all at what these people create. We are happy with what we are able to do with our limited abilities and premade components but we know that it pales into insignificance next to a real artisan’s work.

But that does not mean we are untalented. It just means that our talents don’t lie in that area. We all have gifts and talents (some of us have yet to discover or fully explore them) and it’s a good thing that we all have different ones. After all if everybody was a Master Joiner we might have some amazing furniture and buildings but if nobody was able to work with metal we would not have cars, aeroplanes, washing machines and so on… If everybody was good at making cakes but nobody could cook anything else the current obesity problem would seem insignificant.

You might think that you got any gifts and talents but the Bible disagrees. Included in lists of spiritual gifts are things like hospitality, administration, caring for others, and encouraging. The apostle Paul says that love is greater than any spiritual gift.

Never look down on yourself or consider yourself less worthy than others (whilst maintaining a healthy humility). God’s Spirit is developing your character to bear fruit that lasts and makes a real difference. When we follow Jesus Christ his Spirit is working with us and within us to help us to become the best we possibly can be: the person God created us to become. God does not make mistakes and he wants to take your gifts and talents and skills and personality and experience and use them, enhance them (and perhaps even give you new ones) in order that you might be blessed and be a blessing.

And he wants to add all that you are and all that you are becoming to those around you so that your gifts and skills will blend with theirs to multiply the blessing further. Are you up for that?

Be blessed, be a blessing.

building temples

Okay, it's not Solomon's Temple but one at Segesta in Sicily. Photo (c) me
Okay, it’s not Solomon’s Temple but one at Segesta in Sicily. Photo (c) me

The passages in the Bible that I have been look at recently are about the Temple that King Solomon built.

Well, let’s be honest, he didn’t build it himself. He gave the order and a team of skilled craftsmen and labourers set to work to build it. There’s no record of him even laying a ceremonial stone (have a look at many Baptist Church buildings in the UK and you’ll see stones laid by important people). His involvement in the building project was distinctly ‘hands off’.

But Solomon “built the temple”!

A couple of thoughts occurred to me. One was whether we can ever give enough credit to those around us whose work goes unnoticed and unrecognised until they don’t do it. We all notice soon enough if the streets aren’t cleaned or bins aren’t emptied. We’d all complain if they stopped repairing traffic lights when they break down. I have mentioned before that we don’t give a thought to those who work to supply us with electricity, gas and water until the supply is interrupted and then we don’t think about the hazards the repairer have to cope with to restore our comfortable lifestyle.

You can apply that thought to churches.

A second thought was whether we take too much credit for our own achievements. Listen to most acceptance speeches at awards ceremonies and you will hear a list of people ‘without whom…’ But what if you don’t get an award in which to share the credit? I was speaking with someone recently about the church I serve and was speaking very positively about it (meaning the people). And I realised that while I am one of the ministers in that church and I seek to serve, support, encourage and bless the people who are the church, the credit for what the church is like must go to the people allowing God to work through them and working with him.

You can apply that thought to other environments (work, sport, leisure…).

Solomon built the temple.

What have you built recently? Who didn’t get the credit? Why not see if you can find an opportunity to thank them?

Be blessed, be a blessing.