We are All Builders!
We are all builders. We have often seen new houses going up. First the foundations are put in, strong and solid. Then the building rises slowly until at last it is finished--and soon it is filled with happy life and activity.
It is a home, with its household, its romping children, its song and conversation, its love-history, its experiences of joy and sorrow, its weddings, births, funerals.
Or it is a business house, with its bustling activity, its buying and selling, its noisy machinery, its money-making.
Or it is a place of worship, dedicated to God, filled with worshiping companies and resounding with the voices of praise and prayer.
We are all familiar with this kind of building. All over our beautiful country there are springing up continually stately homes, great business places and sacred temples. Many thousands of men are engaged in such building.
But there is another kind of building in which all of us are engaged. We are all character-builders. We are building up our own lives. The work begins in early youth, and goes on through all the years that we live. We ought to be very careful to build well, to make every smallest part of our house as beautiful and as nearly perfect as possible.
The first thing is the foundation. No wise man ever puts his house on mire or sand; he goes down deep into the earth until he reaches rock or solid ground. Christ is the only true and sure foundation for soul-building to rest upon. He is the same yesterday and today and forever--every life built upon him will stand securely amid all earthly changes.
But what is it to have Christ as our foundation? It is to receive him as our only Savior, to rest all our hopes upon him. It is to take his commands as the principles of our life, shaping all our actions and our conduct upon them.
On the foundation the building rises slowly and gradually. Stone by stone, or brick by brick, the walls grow until the structure is complete. So character building goes on, beginning in infancy and finished only when the earthly life ends. In the mother's first lessons when her little one lies on her knee, in all the teachings of the early years, in the things learned, the habits formed, the impressions made on the life, the thoughts, the feelings, the acts—in all these, the work of character building goes on. True holy living, puts in beautiful stones or adds touches of loveliness to some part of the walls. Sin and disobedience mar the work with stained and misshapen blocks, and leaves ugly spots and blotches on the building.
We are not conscious how perpetually this work is going on in us. In all our emotions, tempers, dispositions, in all our ever-changing moods and in all our words, grave or mirthful, in every obedience and every disobedience--the invisible building is going up, and the fabric of life is silently growing up--either in beauty or in blemish.
Yet we must not conclude that we have no power to control the form and the character of our own life-building. We are responsible for all that is done on it. If it is marred, our hands do the marring.
We remember that the Lord showed Moses on the mount, a pattern of the tabernacle he was to make, of each part of it and of every vessel and piece of furniture. All Moses had to do was to have the building reared up according to the divine pattern.
In the same way, God shows us patterns for the soul-temple he wants us to build. We have only to open his Word to find these patterns. Then it is our part to work these patterns into life, to be what God shows us that he wants us to be.
An artist, when asked how he made such wonderful pictures, replied, "I dream dreams and I see visions--and then I paint my dreams and my visions." That is what we have to put into life and character—the beautiful things that God shows us when we bend over his Word and read the story of Christ.
It is not easy to do this. Froude says "You cannot dream yourself into godly character--you must hammer and forge one for yourself." It takes effort always to be good, to do the right thing and to refuse to do the wrong. Easy living never yet built a noble, worthy character. It requires purpose that nothing can swerve, a will that never yields to obstacles, energy that cannot be daunted or defeated. It is worthwhile, however, to toil, to strive, to struggle, to resist even unto blood and death, to sacrifice all of self--that we may build up in ourselves a noble, beautiful, Christlike character. What we build here on earth--we shall be forever!