Friday, August 6, 2010
Building a Sandbox
The anticipation and excitement began after supper. Sam and I headed to the “Boom Boom” store-Home Depot. There we picked up the supplies to build a sandbox. I do not know who had more fun at this point. Sam was telling me what he would do in the sandbox and thought the best thing to do was to start building right when we got home. After some firm convincing, Sam went to bed with dreams of the new sandbox in his head. The following morning the construction began. Sam was more than ready. I had both boys with me, or maybe on top of me, as they wanted in on the action. I used a shovel to dig the trenches, while Sam tried to convince me his plastic excavator would do a better job. Eli, wanting to do his part, was right there in the center of the action. I have learned the skill of pounding a few times with the hammer and then stopping midswing.
I suppose it would have been easier and a lot faster to build it by myself. There would have been no distractions, no “get away from that,” and no bruised fingers from the hammer. But, I would have missed out on a wonderful opportunity. So there was Sam holding the end of the tape measure and taking his turn with the level. We did it together, just the way I was taught to do it by my Dad.
Side note: Dad, I am grateful for the time together when I was little on these sort of projects. I learned more than skills. Oh, and by the way, Sam is beginning to learn all the uses of duct tape. You taught me well.
As I watched the boys enjoy the sandbox, I pondered the question, “How do you build a church?” I can show someone how to build a sandbox, but how about a church. I have so many books and magazine articles that give differing opinions. Many of them give great wisdom and practical insight, but not all of them ask the question that I think is most important: “How did Jesus build the church?”
Well, how did Jesus build the church? Surprise, surprise, he didn’t do it by programs. He didn’t insist on having this ministry or that ministry. He didn’t concentrate on a certain age group. He didn’t even put all of his focus on preaching to large crowds.
Where Jesus did spend most of his time was with His disciples. He poured His life out to them. He lived life with them and along the way He showed them how to deepen their relationship with the Father and with each other. He taught them about who they were in the eyes of their Father. He then showed them that who they are flows into what they do. (Notice how we have twisted it, in our culture.) Jesus didn’t put all of his time with the large crowds. Rather, he shared his life with His small group of disciples.
In many ways, building a sandbox with my boys is an example of what He did. Jesus could have built the church by himself. Instead, He chose to use others. He chose the more time consuming way of relationship building. He thought the time spent on the sandbox was vital.
So, how do we build the church. It seems to me, we need to focus on relationships that are intentional about going deeper with Jesus and going deeper with others who are both inside the church and outside of it. Programs will not build the church, spending time in relationships will.
Yes, it is important to do things in the large group. Yes, Jesus did preach to thousands. Jesus didn’t shy away from those things. However, Jesus ministry was much more than that. He thought it was good to spend time with the woman at the well. He spent the night with Nicodemus. He left the crowds to go to the home of Jairus so that He could heal his daughter.
I want to build the church. We all want to build the church. Let’s do it the way Jesus did it. One on one. Building deep relationships around the sandbox.
Hey Liam, Sam wants you to come over and play.