“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” — Psalm 127: 1
This psalm inspired a Christian singer, Keith Green, decades ago, to write a song titled, “Unless the Lord Builds the House.” It’s a catchy, bright tune that I like very much. And this particular song has some very good things to say to us, especially when, in these days, we’re feeling constrained and want to “break out” and do something — do anything!
There’s a line in it that goes, “unless the Lord wants it done, you’d better not work another day, building anything that will stand in His way.” That’s good advice with a heavenly perspective. It raises the idea that, perhaps some of the things we want to see happen or we want to do, we’d be better off not pushing ahead with and asking God to bless what we want. The point is to seek what God wants us to do and be satisfied with doing His work.
It reminds me of when Gamaliel speaks in chapter 5 of the book of Acts, telling the Jewish leaders that if they insist on trying to silence Jesus’ followers, they may find themselves opposing God.
In a similar way, in our haste to try and return to “normal,” we don’t want to try and insist God do things our way and that He should bless what we claim needs doing.
One other line in the song to point out goes, “for wood, hay and stubble will all burn up in the fire, but to love the Lord with all your heart should be your one desire.” The first part of that line comes from 1 Cor 3:12-15, and the last part are the words of Jesus in reply to lawyers, Pharisees and others. To love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind, is what Jesus reminds us is the ‘work’ we are to do.
Maybe take a few minutes and look this song up on YouTube. And then take some time, and ponder how, today, we have been blessed with the call of Christ to love Him and to serve His people by sharing His word. God’s blessings to you today as we seek to be loving the Lord as our one desire.
Pastor Tom Rhodes has been the pastor at Zion Lutheran Church Bolivar since 2013, having served Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Folsom, California, for 10 years. Prior to seminary, he worked in Christian retail and marketing for 20 years.