Down through history, doubtless as far back as the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, man has been a brickmaker. Bricks have been a staple building material through the centuries. While great temples, obelisks, and government structures have been made of quarried stone as the costliest and most enduring of building materials, the humble brick has been the overwhelming choice of the masses and of more “humble” public buildings. You will recall, that in Egypt, the Hebrews were slaves who made the bricks for most of the run of the mill Egyptian building projects. So, the Israelites were trained in the craft of brick making.
Down through history in many cultures, brick structures have been preferred and prized by homeowners and others (remember the story of the three pigs?). I have been planning for several years to brick the back of my house, the other three sides already being brick. This will add strength, beauty, and value to my home, I think. Logistics and cost have prohibited it so far, but I still hope to have it done. Bricks add value and endurance.
The Bible uses building terms to describe the church. There are other metaphors used like “a body, an assembly, and a bride”. But the metaphor of a building resonates as well. In 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 Paul becomes a construction manager explaining to the Corinthians the necessity of a “wise master builder” laying an appropriate foundation in our lives. Paul laid that foundation and others were building upon it. But it would be incumbent that those building upon that foundation would use quality building materials like “gold, silver, precious stones” rather than “wood, hay, and straw”.
But what has caught my attention recently is Peter’s metaphor of building a spiritual house. He says in 1 Pt. 2:5, “You yourselves like living stones (bricks) are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Peter uses the metaphors of “stones” and a “house” to describe the spiritual lives of believers. Just as a physical house is not built-in a day, so a spiritual house is built over time. But we must use quality material.
Have you ever thought, “What good is it to go to church today? What good will it be to read my Bible today? What good will it do to pray today?” If we are honest, most times we leave church, the earth has not shaken. After we have done our Bible reading, we often do not feel appreciably changed. After we have prayed, we seem to be the same old person. Too many Christians are looking for the spectacular and life-changing to happen all the time. That is not how it works. Are their “epiphanal” moments when a great change is affected in us in a specific instant? Yes. Are there moments to which we can look back and say, “Something changed significantly in my life that day, that church service, that prayer time, that Bible reading time?” Yes. But those are relatively rare.
I prefer to think of our regular, rather mundane times of spiritual pursuit, as times we “lay another brick” in our spiritual house. God is building us up as a spiritual house. He has laid the foundation in Christ via our faith in him as Lord and Savior. Now God is building upon that foundation. Every time we come to a worship service, every time we pray, every time we read the Bible, every time we serve, every time we listen to a solid podcast, every time we read a good theological book, etc., we are (God is) laying another spiritual brick in our spiritual house.
Often on Sunday morning when I pray for you, I ask that God would just lay another brick in the spiritual house of people at Berean. I realize that, most likely, this service will not be a “life-changing” experience for most. Maybe. But again, rare. I would be satisfied if the house were just built up a bit. Sometimes, several bricks might be laid. Perhaps an entire row of bricks might be placed. Hardly noticeable to the naked eye perhaps, but over time… a lifetime … as brick after brick is laid, and tier after tier is multiplied, a strong spiritual house is developed.
So, as I come to worship, I’m hoping that some small progress might be realized in the building project that is Terry McIntosh. I pray that in being in worship, my children might have at least one brick added to their spiritual superstructure. And I pray that everyone in the flock might come away with some kind of progress made in their spiritual house.
No devotion to God is wasted. No Bible reading time is sterile. No prayer is without spiritual benefit. Rome was not built in a day. Neither will our spiritual house be built in a day. But with God as the wise master builder, may we see brick upon brick, tier upon tier of our spiritual houses be built up to the glory of God in these small, seemingly insignificant ways.