26th February 2013

Wall Building

“For no one can lay any other foundation than the one we already haveJesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 3:11 (NLT)

My back garden measures, roughly, 25ft wide and 60ft long and, due to the sloping ground, is on two different levels. Years ago, stone walls were built to keep the garden soil in place, but gradually the weight of the soil was winning the battle to push the walls off their foundation. One wall eventually collapsed after giving up the struggle to hold back a sloping flower bed. That wall was replaced by a local builder using concrete blocks and a new foundation. This wall was only two blocks high, but seemed adequate for the job, but once again the weight of the soil started to push the whole of the top layer of blocks off the foundation layer. To me it was a physical illustration of my Christian life. Through Jesus I’m on a solid foundation, but it doesn’t stop the problems and cares of the world prodding and nudging, trying to push me off that foundation.

The stone wall on the right of the garden also began to bulge and split, so I decided, as a retirement project, to have a go at rebuilding them myself. The first stage of the rebuild was COUNTING THE COST. Luke 14:28-30 says, “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building [or in my case a wall] without first getting estimates and then checking to see if there is enough money to pay the bills? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of funds. And then how everyone would laugh at you! They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and ran out of money before it was finished.’”

My bank balance was looking healthy enough so I bought enough blocks and mortar mix for the job in hand and then started on the second stage of the rebuild which was LAYING A SOLID FOUNDATION. The first wall already had a solid foundation, but I still had to be careful how I built on that foundation for a successful outcome. In 1 Corinthians 3:10, Paul explains, “Because of God’s special favour to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful.” Verse 13 tells us why—“But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done.”

I rebuilt the first wall to a height of about three feet, learning as I went along, then started on the second one with slightly more confidence. This L-shaped wall was going to be more of a challenge. New foundations had to be laid, because the old stone wall was only resting on soil. The wall needed to be about 4ft high on the bottom part of the L-shape, and the side had to taper off to only 1ft high to fit into the shape of the sloping ground. After demolishing the old wall I dug out the soil until I’d reached the natural chalk layer which I then used as a solid base for the new foundations. In Luke 6:47-48 Jesus says: “I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built.”

The third stage of the rebuild was BELIEVING IN THE FOUNDATION. Being a novice builder, I was extra careful laying the new foundation because, once it was out of sight, I had to be confident enough to believe that the wall would be properly supported for many years to come. This reminded me of Thomas, in the Bible, who didn’t believe that Jesus, the Foundation, had been resurrected until he actually saw Him. In John 20:29 Jesus tells Thomas: “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me (the Foundation) and believe anyway.”

Following the completion of the work I called in the rubbish man to remove the old wall rubble. “Someone’s been busy then,” he said, as he looked up the garden. I told him I’d been rebuilding the walls. “No, not you!” he exclaimed. “Yes,” I said, “Me, myself and I.” “But you’re a woman!” he shouted back. Funnily enough, I’d noticed that as well, but why should that make any difference?

Thank you, Father, for teaching us, men and women alike, spiritual lessons through physical pursuits. In this case, Counting the Cost, Building on the right Foundation and Believing in that Foundation.

Study by Diana Hall

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