“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build.” (Ps. 27:1)
David wanted to build the Temple for God, but God told him that Solomon, his son, was to be the builder. Was that when David penned the words, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain” (Ps 27:1)? David knew that the Temple is just a building without the Lord’s presence.
What is true on a grand scale, like building a Temple, is true at every level. The most mundane event becomes infused with the miraculous when God shows up. After Jesus taught a large crowd, a simple lunch of fish and bread that a young boy offered fed the entire gathering. On another occasion, Jesus used mud to heal a blind man’s eyes. Apart from Jesus, fish is simply a meal, and mud is wet dirt.
God has gifted us each in incredible ways. Those gifts are meant to bring us joy and to bless others in profound ways. We are called to use the talents, abilities, and strengths we have been given by God. Yet, unless the Lord breathes on our abilities, we might as well be twiddling our thumbs. The most beautiful worship music performed flawlessly with passionate emotion is but a clanging cymbal unless the Lord is in the midst. The exquisite meal prepared in the most inviting setting is just food on a plate unless the Lord is at the table. In my life, I know that no matter how articulate I am, no matter how inspirational or moving, my writing is only letters on a page unless the Lord blesses the work.
Always remember who brings growth to the seeds we plant. All through the day each one of us are building a house through the work we do and the people we see. The reminder from Solomon is to never count on our inherent skill as a determiner of success. Our call is to be faithful; His prerogative is whether or not our work brings success. We know, in the end, unless the Lord gives growth to the seed, we are wasting our time.
The beauty of this truth is twofold: God is our ever-present partner. We are not alone in anything we do. Faithfulness is our responsibility, including being prepared and working with excellence, but success is in His hands. This frees me up from the heavy weight of achieving specific results. God takes care of that.
Second, God brings power to the mundane. He works miracles in people’s lives through ordinary lunches, casual conversations, words of encouragement. He shows up when we least expect it. But when He shows up, nothing can deter us from hundredfold fruitfulness. When we say connected to Him, everything is sacred.