Boys and blocks

Several years ago, I taught a Sunday School class of pre-school boys. One if their favorite activities was to knock down blocks. We had these big soft blocks and I would stack them high. Invariably one of them would hit or kick and knock down the tower. Once one started the rest would join in. Then we had to build it again. There wasn’t nearly as much energy in building the stack as there was in knocking it down.

We start at an early age. Many boys (and girls) love to examine things and take things apart. Grabbing glasses off of faces and pulling earrings off. Then they start taking apart simple toys and then progressing to more expensive toys. Later on, some of them actually learn to put things back together and eventually start to make things better.

Taking things apart is much easier than building things. Destroying things is much easier than building things. It doesn’t really take much to tear things down. But, it’s difficult to build things and build them well.

The part of software development that I enjoyed the most was building it. Planning on how it was put together, creating it, and making it run correctly. Building is also why I enjoy home improvement projects, origami, and woodworking. Sure, tearing down is fun. But the sense of accomplishment when you’ve built something is much more satisfying and longer lasting. You see the results for much longer.

It’s harder to see when we talk about building someone up. We are to build each other up. From 1 Thess. 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” An encouraging word. Coming along side of another to help them when and where they need help. To remind them they are not alone (not just in this time of Covid, but all of the time). To listen to them. To pray for them. To feed and help with shelter. To teach.

Unlike doing a home project, you probably won’t see the results immediately if at all. This is where faith comes in. You need to continue to build them up even without the feedback of accomplishment or a sense of change. It will take many, many, many repetitions. Keep at it. Work at it. Use your stubbornness and “don’t quit” attitude to build others up. But don’t be obnoxious about it. It is not really your project. It’s God’s project. You are his hands and feet. You are his instrument to build others up. Listen to His leading on where you need to help and build.

Peace, David

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